East Timor

M. Anne Brown

in Human Rights and the Borders of Suffering

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780719061059
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700365 | DOI:
East Timor

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East Timor was forcibly incorporated into Indonesia in 1975 and managed to become independent almost twenty-five years later. Now the territory, poised on the edge of statehood, is undergoing transition, but also flux and confusion. At the time of writing, the United Nations Transitional Authority for East Timor (UNTAET) is effectively the Government of East Timor, with elections for a constituent assembly to determine a constitution expected in August 2001. This chapter examines the immediate background to Indonesia's violent process of incorporation and the pattern of abuse that characterised it. To emphasise human rights promotion as grounded in exchange with the actual patterns of social practice involved casts a different light on the apparent self-evidence of that polarisation, as the story of East Timor suggests. Effective self-determination and effective international understanding of and response to East Timor's evolving circumstances may be anything but simple. Answers to questions around how to build a reasonably peaceful political order that East Timor's circumstances pose for its own population and leadership, and for others, may be fundamental to how we understand political community.

Keywords: East Timor; human rights; Indonesia; incorporation; United Nations Transitional Authority for East Timor; self-determination; political order; political community; abuse; rights promotion

Chapter.  16146 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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