Land - and the resources it contains - has always been at the centre of conflict in East Timor.
From pre-colonial period when the ancient kingdoms of East Timor vied for power over territory and resources, through the colonial period when the acquisitions and expropriations of indigenous land began and up to the modern period when it was sovereignty over the territory of East Timor and all the resources it contains that was sought by the Indonesians in their quest for political and economic domination and exploitation.
In the post-independence era, conflicts over land continue to rage, frequently erupting in violence that results in death and destruction.
Land disputes have been identified as one of the principal underlying issues in the 2006 crisis (2007 ETLJ 2 Ethnicity, Violence, & Land and Property Disputes in Timor-Leste by Andrew Harrington).
Consequently, the draft land law of 2009 is one of the most critical policy and law matters to come before the legislative processes since the restoration of independence.
The public consultation process that began in July 2009 has been criticised by civil society as inadequate and because insufficient time has been provided for democratic participation in the legislative process.
The materials on this web site have been published as an information resource in English for research and reference.
All jurists and other interested parties are urged to examine the draft law and to transmit a submission to the East Timor Minister for Justice.
East Timor Law Journal - Towards the rule of law in Timor-Leste!