EAST TIMOR • WOSM Mission to East Timor
East Timor, or Timor Leste, includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi (Ambeno) region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco. In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of East Timor was laid waste by armed conflict and 260,000 people fled westward. In August 1999, in a U.N.-supervised popular referendum, the people of Timor Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. Over the next three years, a massive international program led to substantial reconstruction in both urban and rural areas. The country faces great challenges in continuing the rebuilding of infrastructure and the strengthening of the infant civil administration. On 20 May 2002, Timor Leste was internationally recognized as an independent state and the world’s newest democracy.
Two Scout groups have been in existence in East Timor long before the conflict. One group is the Corpo Nacional dos Escuteiros Católicos de Timor Leste (Catholic Scouts) and the other is Timor Leste Scouts (East Timorese Scouts). Total number of Scout members is 5,378 from both Scout groups.
With the cooperation of East Timor Education Minister Armando Maia, a WOSM Mission was arranged recently comprising of Regional Chairman Anthony Thng, Regional Director Abdullah Rasheed, Mr Miguel Alves of Portugal and Syd Castillo of APR office to meet with the two Scouting groups. The core of the mission is for both groups to join forces and eventually form one national Scout organization. A written statement was drawn up as a guide for their unified plan of action. By the end of the Mission, both groups agreed to work and move together towards that direction.