After the vote for independence on 30 August 1999, East Timor acquired the status of the
world’s newest nation. The country is currently administered by the United
Nations Transitional Administration for East Timor (UNTAET), the term for which will
expire after elections bring in a new government with self-rule in 2002. Several challenges remain to be overcome, but perhaps the largest of these for the East Timorese is to draw a curtain on
the terrible legacies of history and particularly the dreadful outcomes of the civil conflicts of the recent past.