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Ending the 2006 Internal Displacement Crisis in Timor-Leste

Between Humanitarian Aid and Transitional Justice

image of Ending the 2006 Internal Displacement Crisis in Timor-Leste
The 2006 crisis in Timor-Leste saw close to 15 per cent of the population displaced from their homes, threatening to sink the country into protracted instability and violence. Remarkably, less than five years later, the country looks to be back on track, with the internal displacement file from 2006 largely resolved. This study examines the National Recovery Strategy adopted by the Government of Timor-Leste to address the crisis, including the move towards a cash grant programme, and analyses the strengths and weaknesses of national and local measures taken to provide solutions to the displaced. In doing so, the author connects the case of Timor-Leste to the wider debate on displacement, durable solutions and transitional justice, and offers important conclusions for practitioners from each of these perspectives.

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Resolving the IDP crisis in Timor-Leste: From a humanitarian response to the National Recovery Strategy

In terms of internal displacement, the impact of the 2006 crisis and the outbreaks of violence in 2007 were huge. In the beginning of 2008, an estimated 100,000 people remained displaced, with at least 30,000 living in 51 camps in and around Dili and the remainder living with family or friends in Dili or the districts. While the vast majority of camps were located in Dili, there were also seven small camps in Bacau, the second-largest city in Timor-Leste, housing around 1,500 IDPs. In July 2007, the government ceased providing assistance to the IDPs in Bacau, which caused about half of the IDPs there to move back to Dili, to camps in Metinaro and Jardim.

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