Rethinking Timorese Identity as a Peacebuilding Strategy: The Lorosa’e – Loromonu Conflict from a Traditional Perspective

Since 2006 East Timor has been faced with a crisis of internal conflict. A deepening regional and social division has become tangible for the first time since independence. This conflict or division was defined by animosities, distrust and eventually street fights between people considered to be either of Lorosa’e (Eastern) or Loromonu (Western) region and background. Violence erupted out of widespread perceptions that discrimination against such regional groupings permeated state institutions, particularly in the security sector. From here unrest spread and led to the large-scale displacement of parts of the population that is still ongoing. The most significant damage caused by this crisis was to the internal relationships that had until then bound the country together. This article is an attempt to analyse the impact of the government-sponsored dialogue and peace-making initiatives by international actors present in East Timor on the root causes underlying the eruption of violence. 

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