Local Security and Resilience in Dili, Timor-Leste

This project examined community views of security in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste. Based primarily on a survey and short interviews with members of five communities in the first half of 2011, the research provided an insight into different dimensions of local security. The themes covered included views of whether security had improved, how communities reproduce security in terms of both local and state authority structures, as well as public views of engagement with security actors. These questions were important to ask, not least given that Dili has endured several significant periods of intense violence over its recent history, once at the end of the Indonesian occupation, and again from 2006 to 2008.

The field research team trained and recruited a team of surveyors, getting around to different sites in Dili by taxi and microlet (bus), keying in data into our small office in Farol. These five sites were chosen as they provided a combination of geographic spread across Dili, and were also impacted differently by the crisis. Across 2006-2008 Comoro, Bairro Pite and Becora were all known for being ‘hot spots’ for violence and ongoing conflict between gangs. In contrast, Lahane Oriental and Bemori were at least comparatively speaking sites less effected by violence. 

A report was developed from this research titled 'Local Security and Resilience in Dili, Timor-Leste', funded by the Asia Foundation and the Centre for Global Research at RMIT University. Combined with more recent data and analysis, this report contributed to understanding local conceptions of security in a context where the control of policing in Dili had been returned to the National Police Force of Timor-Leste, and in the lead up to the 2012 National Elections and the subsequent withdrawal of the International Stabilization Force.


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