United Nations emblem


Five UN missions served Timor-Leste
from 1999 to 2012


United Nations Assistance Mission
in East Timor

June 1999–October 1999

UN Security Council establishes the United Nations Assistance Mission in East Timor to conduct the 1999 Popular Consultation, allowing self-determination by the people of East Timor. Security Council endorses the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET) to restore law and order when violence breaks out following the Popular Consultation.

  • In the Popular Consultation of 30 August 1999, an overwhelming 78.5 per cent of East Timor’s voters rejects special autonomy within Indonesia, paving the way for full independence
  • A wave of arson and terror destroys much of East Timor’s infrastructure, and tens of thousands of people flee their homes or are forcibly displaced to West Timor


United Nations Transitional Administration
in East Timor

October 1999–May 2002

UN Security Council establishes the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor to administer a transition to full independence. Its mandate includes all legislative, executive and judicial authority for administering the country. UN supports programmes addressing the widespread destruction of infrastructure and displacement of people in the violence following the Popular Consultation.

  • More than 110,000 East Timorese return from West Timor refugee camps by December 1999
  • National Consultative Council forms in December 1999 to ensure the East Timorese have direct involvement in decisions
  • Command of military operations transfers from INTERFET to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in February 2000
  • People of Timor-Leste elect an 88-member Constituent Assembly in August 2001 to write the country’s Constitution
  • Constituent Assembly signs Timor-Leste’s Constitution on 22 March 2002
  • Timor-Leste holds first presidential election in April 2002
  • Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste becomes the first new sovereign state of the millennium on 20 May 2002; Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão is the President, and Mari Alkatiri the Prime Minister


United Nations Mission of Support
in East Timor

May 2002–May 2005

UN Security Council establishes the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor to support the newly independent nation.

  • Timor-Leste becomes the 191st Member State of the United Nations on 27 September 2002
  • Timor-Leste assumes full responsibility for policing and external security on 20 May 2004
  • UN withdraws peacekeepers



United Nations Office
in Timor-Leste

May 2005–August 2006

UN Security Council establishes the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste, a political mission, to support the continued development of national institutions and the police force, as well as to promote democracy and human rights.

  • Timor-Leste Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation estimates in its December 2005 report, Chega! (Enough!), that a minimum of 102,800 conflict-related deaths occurred from 1975 to 1999
  • Protests over the dismissal of soldiers lead to clashes between the military and police in April and May 2006 in the capital Dili
  • More than 100,000 people are displaced in the ensuing unrest
  • Australia leads an international force to restore law and order at the request of the Government of Timor-Leste


United Nations Integrated Mission
in Timor-Leste

August 2006–December 2012

UN Security Council establishes the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste following the outbreak of violence. The mission has a far-reaching mandate to assist Timor-Leste in addressing the consequences and underlying causes of conflict. UNMIT helps Timor-Leste consolidate stability, nurture democracy, promote human rights, train police, strengthen the justice system and enhance civilian oversight of security forces. UNMIT initially holds responsibility for policing.

  • Timor-Leste conducts presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 with UNMIT support
  • Timor-Leste closes the last camp for internally displaced persons on 16 June 2009
  • UNMIT hands over responsibility for the conduct, command and control of police operations to the National Police of Timor-Leste on 27 March 2011
  • Timor-Leste conducts presidential elections in March and April 2012
  • Timor-Leste celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Restoration of Independence on 20 May 2012 and Taur Matan Ruak is sworn in as President
  • Timor-Leste conducts parliamentary elections on 7 July 2012
  • Timor-Leste inaugurates its third parliament on 8 August 2012
  • Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão re-assumes the role of Prime Minister on 8 August 2012
  • UNMIT departs 31 December 2012