Timor Leste: Greater effort needed to support the poor


“Timor-Leste’s economy’s double digit growth is impressive despite the global economic and financial crisis, however Social, Cultural and Political exclusion will still pervade at every level”, said Magdalena Sepúlveda, an expert from the Extreme Poverty Human Rights Special Unit, from the UN Headquarters in Caicoli, Dili, (18/11).

Sepúlveda commented that although there were signs of poverty reduction, a majority of the 75% of the population living in rural areas, has not broken free of the inter-generational poverty cycle.

“The richest of Timorese society enjoys almost 180 times the wealth of the poorest of the poor,” highlighted Ms. Sepúlveda.

Poverty will become rampant, lack of food security, and unemployment will affect the communities living outside Dili, due to their limited access to information and means of communication.

According to the UN report on population studies in the Bobonaro, Dili and Manufahe Districts, 41% of the population live on less than one US dollar a day. Approximately 58% of the population suffers from chronic malnutrition, while 19% are critically undernourished. Unemployment is around 70%.

The report also point to a very young population, with more than half the population under the age of 19 and 90% of the people in the age groups between 15 and 34 years cannot find employment.

The same report says 18% of the population is still vulnerable.

MP Mario Carrascalão stated that the Poverty reduction law has not as yet been implemented because it has not been debated in Parliament.

“We the Social Democrats hope it will provide assistance to the widows, not just those who are victims but also those lacking access to social security,” said Carrascalão.

He also highlighted the State needs to prioritize the needs of children living in orphanages around the country.

Source: Dili Weekly

Photo Credit: Dili Weekly


We, as leaders of  faith communities, need to develop a more inclusive view of the religious other, to recognise the humanity of the religious other as a starting point. We need to recognise the essential equality of all human beings regardless of religious beliefs. We need to affirm the mutuality and interdependency of all people... We may need even to extend this and recognise that religious other may, just may, have at least some access to the Truth. We may need to accept that the religious others also adopts more or less the same set of essential universal ethical-moral principles we share; that the religious other has feelings of pain and pleasure just like us; that the religious other has similar expectations about their children and family and the preservation of life, property and security; and that the religious other has the same fears and anxieties about the world and the future, just like us.