Ba ne’bé: where are you going? the changing nature of United Nations peacekeeping in Timor Leste

Knezevic, Neven (2007) Ba ne’bé: where are you going? the changing nature of United Nations peacekeeping in Timor Leste. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The United Nations peacekeeping intervention into Timor Leste following September 1999 signalled a victory for the 24-year Timorese struggle for independence. To date most evaluations of this intervention have taken “problem-solving” approaches, which have primarily considered how to improve the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations. This has left a gap about the impact of the UN’s overall strategic approach to political reconstruction in transitional societies recovering from chaos. In order to fill this gap this research draws upon the lessons of intrastate conflict and state-failure in post-colonial states during the 1990s and uses an institutional peace-building framework to evaluate the impact of the UN’s political reconstruction efforts in Timor Leste. This study traces Timor Leste’s post-conflict state-building through different stages of post-conflict state-building between 1999 and 2005 and examines how new patterns of political conflict have changed. One of the principal areas of consideration is the role of democratisation as a method of transferring potentially violent factional conflict into a peaceful rule-governed institutional setting. Also considered is the role of administrative and political decentralisation as a method of consolidating post-conflict peace by strengthening the legitimacy of a new state from the “bottom upwards”. By doing so, this study contributes to the growing interest among academics and peacekeeping practitioners about the role of participatory peacekeeping interventions into post-conflict societies. This work also assesses how and the extent to which UN and international aid agencies contributed to achieving sustainable peace and development in Timor Leste through institutional peace-building. Timor Leste continues to face reconstruction challenges peculiar to its history of occupation and resistance, which threaten to undermine the successes of state-building. Nevertheless, this thesis argues that state-building under the tutelage of the UN was a tremendous success. The findings drawn offer valuable political reconstruction lessons for Timor Leste, as well as other post-conflict societies, that will help to consolidate transitions from conflict to peace.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > RFCD Classification > 370000 Studies in Human Society
Keywords Timor Leste, East Timor, United Nations, peacekeeping, reconstruction, 1999, 2005
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