[Scroll down for the latest news update -  10 August]

TIMFO.ORG is the website of the Timor Sea Forum and supports East Timor's campaign to determine its maritime boundary with Australia.

There is no maritime boundary between our two countries, only provisional arrangements for resource sharing. The Timorese people say that "drawing the line" is an important and final step in fully determining their sovereign territory.

As you can see in the video East Timor's leadership being very clear about what they are seeking from the Government of Australia. They put their position with passion, precision and with one voice.

Thanks for visiting TIMFO. Please scroll down for the latest news, click on some of the blog post you  can see listed on the right and look here for some ideas on what you can do. Also follow us on twitter - a great way to keep up-to-date!

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This map shows what the boundary is likely to look like according to the application of international law - courtesy of Timor-Leste's Maritime Boundary Office

This map shows what the boundary is likely to look like according to the application of international law - courtesy of Timor-Leste's Maritime Boundary Office


10 August 2016

Reputational Damage

It has been an interesting couple of weeks! 

The award handed down regarding the South China Sea, the noble expression of the Australian Government's support for international law, public scrutiny of the inconsistency of these statements with its position on Timor and the first procedural meeting of the Conciliation Commission.

You might like to read a blog post  about Australia, the South China Sea and the Timor Sea we have here on TIMFO called "Do as I say, not as I do." 

And there are also interesting days ahead, particularly with the first meeting of the Compulsory Conciliation Commission where they 'get down to business.' This, according to the press release issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, is to begin on the 29th of August and  is when "the Parties will address the background to the conciliation and certain questions concerning the competence of the Commission." 

I take this to mean the moment when Australia tries to wriggle out of this Conciliation process by challenging the 'competence' of the commission.

If that is in fact what the Australian team is going to attempt then the Turnbull Government should hang its head in shame. The procedure is there under UNCLOS to assist when there is an impasse. Timor-Leste could not have brought these proceedings unless Australia had knocked out the independent umpire and refused to engage on the issue.

Sister Susan Connelly

Sister Susan Connelly

If we try to wriggle out of this it would fly in the face of the Government's public comments about the value of UNCLOS to resolve disputes.

We  would suffer reputational damage as a good international citizen and diminish our ability to speak with credibility on international law and the South China Sea.

Sister Susan


In under a minute

"Get Up" put together this ad to get the message out around the time of the G20 summit held in Australia earlier in 2015. Have a look. 

Here's what they write: 

A decade ago, Australia took advantage of a nascent East Timor to negotiate a remarkable treaty that short-changed the second poorest country in Asia out of tens of billions of dollars in gas and oil revenue. That included alleged spying on East Timor negotiators to get an upper hand. 

When East Timor learned of Australia's espionage last year, they sought to renegotiate the treaty. What happened next was shocking. Australian agents raided the home of a former intelligence agent and seized his passport preventing him from traveling to the The Hague to provide his evidence. 

The International Court of Justice has slammed the Australian Government's actions. But without international pressure, history may well repeat itself during this next round of negotiations.