Timor-Leste: Political Dynamics, Development, and International Involvement [July 3, 2012] [open pdf - 669KB]
"The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste gained independence on May 20, 2002, after a long history of Portuguese colonialism and, more recently, Indonesian rule. The young nation, with a population of 1.1 million, has been aided by the United Nations under several different mandates under which the U.N. has provided peacekeeping, humanitarian, reconstruction and capacity building assistance to establish a functioning government. The current United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) is slated to withdraw from the nation at the end of 2012. […] That said, Timor-Leste faces many serious challenges as it seeks to establish and deepen a stable democracy and develop its economy. Many institutions in the young nation remain weak, and tensions remain between the young country's political elites and among security forces. Timor- Leste remains one of Asia's poorest nations, ranking 147th out of 187 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. Generating economic opportunity and employment are among the government's greatest challenges. Congressional concerns have focused on security and the role of the United Nations, human rights, East Timor's boundary disputes with Australia and Indonesia, and the strengthening of the nation's political system and functioning of its parliament. Key challenges for Timor-Leste include creating enough political stability to focus on building state capacity and infrastructure, providing employment, and preventing the oil-and-gas revenue stream from being squandered by corruption or poor investment decisions."
CRS Report for Congress, R42585