[Easttimorstudies] LH: Timor-Leste has lessons for Western Sahara

Charles Scheiner cscheiner at igc.org
Sat Nov 11 07:39:04 EST 2006

Self-determination requires more than political independence:
Recent developments in Timor-Leste

By Charles Scheiner, La'o Hamutuk

for the conference on International Law and the Question of Western Sahara
Institute of Social Studies, Den Haag, Netherlands
27-28 October 2006

Complete paper with notes and links available at 


Western Sahara and Timor-Leste are not abstract "questions," but real 
nations with human citizens. Timor-Leste's independence strengthened 
the hopes of Saharawis that self-determination through a UN process 
is possible, although Timor-Leste had advantages that Western Sahara 
lacks. During the seven years since Timor-Leste's referendum, the 
nation has struggled to achieve genuine independence, trying to 
manage complex economic and governmental tasks while being pressured 
by huge neighbors and powerful institutions in a globalized world. 
Since April 2006, violence and crisis have re-emerged in Timor-Leste, 
demonstrating the difficulty of those challenges and illuminating 
issues applicable to the future Saharawi Republic. Finally, the paper 
discusses factors which strengthened the international solidarity 
movement for Timor-Leste and how that movement has evolved since 
political self-determination was achieved.

Charles Scheiner
P.O. Box 1182, White Plains, NY 10602 USA
Tel. +1-914-831-1098  or  +1-914-473-3185  (mobile)
email: cscheiner at igc.org   skype: cscheiner
La'o Hamutuk - Timor-Leste Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

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