GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Timor-Leste, widely known as East Timor, is slowly but surely making a recovery from the 1975-1999 independence battle that left it badly scarred.
The Geneva-based UN Development Programme this week issued photos taken in the Ainero district, which has remote areas that are difficult to reach, showing women voting for the first time in the second round of the presidential election.
The country became the first newly independent sovereign state in this century in 2002, three years after its long fight ended.
The eastern half of the island of Timor was a Portuguese colony until 1974, but within months Indonesia invaded and declared it part of its own territory. Indonesia, The Netherlands, East Indies and later Indonesia had shared the other half of the island.
East Timor’s independence became an international cause célèbre for the next 25 years, but the toll on the island’s development was very high.
UNDP has been involved in rebuilding the country since 1999, and one of its priorities has been reducing gender disparities.