East Timor was the first new independent nation of the 21st century. The consistent and endemic imprisonment, torture and starvation of the indigenous population during the 25 years of Indonesian rule, came to a bloody head, when in 1999 through a UN supervised ballot the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for complete autonomy from Indonesia. The ensuing chaos, fuelled by the military and pro-Indonesian militias caused an almost complete destruction of the country. Under intense international pressure a UN peace keeping force, INTERFET, was dispatched to restore order in Sept. 1999.
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