Timor-Leste regained independence in 2002. This followed a referendum in August 1999, and a wave of violence and destruction as the Indonesians withdrew.
Community-to-Community Friendship – helping Timor-Leste rebuild
In 2000, the first Friendship Groups were initiated by 3 local councils in Victoria (Darebin, Moreland and Port Phillip). These were Friends of Baucau, Friends of Aileu, and Friends of Suai/Covalima. This has now grown to 35 Friendship Groups across Australia.
Three key principles drive the friendships:
- Respect – support Timorese led decision-making
- Sustainable – long-term (10 year) commitment
- Relationships – build partnerships based on mutual respect and understanding.
Regular visits to partner communities in Timor play an important role. Timorese communities share their experiences and their lives with their Australian friends. This helps identify how we can work together on projects that make a real difference to local lives. Each Friendship Group is unique in its activities and focus, arising from the history of each partnership.
AusTimorFN – the Friendship Group network
The Australia Timor-Leste Friendship Network (AusTimorFN) was established in 2009. One aim was to improve communication with the Timor-Leste Department of State Administration.
AusTimorFN also supports Friendship Groups in communicating and sharing ideas and experiences via:
- this website
- forums on Timor-Leste related topics
- the AusTimorFN eNews email list
- a Facebook Group
- and co-hosting or co-sponsoring national and international conferences and election observer missions.
AusTimorFN has a National Convenor in