Timor-Leste (East Timor)
After gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, Timor-Leste’s very short-lived autonomy was ended by the Indonesian occupation later that same year and the country was declared Indonesia’s 27th province. After a long fight, Timor-Leste finally became a sovereign state on May 20, 2002. Following the successful withdrawal of the UN Integrated Mission in 2012, Timor-Leste remains at a critical juncture in terms of its development and democratization. Security continues to be fragile, and the Timorese youth, which make up almost 50% of the country’s population, has shown to be a key player in the country’s stability. Frequent youth violence and gender imbalance in the democratic process still threaten the peace-building process in Timor-Leste. To help move the peace and democratization process forward, we have been working in Timor-Leste since April 2010 and have been focusing our efforts on youth engagement, women empowerment, increasing citizen access to justice, strengthening good governance and civil society, and media programming.