UN peacekeepers leave East Timor after 13 years


A U.N. peacekeeper aboard an armored vehicle secures an East Timor court in 2009.



The United Nations is ending its peacekeeping mission in East Timor on Monday after 13 years, the Associated Press reported.

UN peacekeepers arrived in East Timor in 1999, when the Timorese voted for independence, putting an end to 24 years of occupation by Indonesia, Agence France-Presse reported.

The UN directly administered East Timor until it formally became a country in 2002, the AP reported. Political and ethnic violence, including an army mutiny in 2006, kept the peacekeepers in the country until now.

At the UN mission’s peak, there were 1,600 UN forces stationed in East Timor, AFP reported.

According to Australia Network News:

The country has now had two relatively calm presidential elections, the 3,000 strong police force has been retrained district-by-district and the judiciary reformed.

Yet, East Timor still faces challenges. Ranked 147th out of 187 countries on the UN's human development index – below Bangladesh – improving its citizens’ standard of living will be a major undertaking, AFP reported.

More from GlobalPost: East Timor has many challenges after 10 years of independence