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Map of Timor-Leste


In 2002, Timor Leste emerged from a difficult colonial past under Portuguese and Indonesian rule. Since independence, the country has achieved substantial progress in combating poverty and facilitating economic growth, mostly through hydrocarbon extraction and oil revenues. Nonetheless, the country still ranks among the poorest in Southeast Asia. The population lives mostly in the countryside off subsistence farming.

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Timor Leste’s Land Law recognizes community property which has proved to be more resilient to political changes than statutory law. Customary land ownership is inseparable from questions of group identity and belonging.