At the end of the 20th century, living conditions were worse in Timor than in other parts of Indonesia. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of RTL and acronym for East Timor. The violent events in East Timor following the 1999 referendum further worsened the chances of survival. The reconstruction was immediately focused on restoring health care and education, repairing transport routes and reducing poverty. However, the very rapid increase in population meant that the proportion of poor people increased. New unrest in 2006 hampered developments in the new country of East Timor, as well as bad harvests for several years in the 00s. In 2009, a quarter of the population was malnourished and just over 40 percent lived below the poverty line. More than 45 percent of children younger than five years were underweight in 2010.
In 1999, three-quarters of all hospitals and clinics were destroyed and 80 percent of doctors left the country. In the following years, UN agencies and international aid organizations worked intensively on disaster relief and building up basic health care across the country and as early as 2003, 90 percent of residents lived within a two-hour walk of a clinic. Since independence in 2002, the regime has continued to prioritize health care and education of doctors and health workers. An aid agreement with Cuba has meant that most doctors in East Timor (2010) are Cubans and East Timorians receive medical training in Cuba. Treatment at the state clinics is free. There are also private clinics and international aid organizations still conduct extensive, free health, health and dental care in the country. However, at the end of the 1990s, there was still only one doctor per 10,000 residents. Only 30 percent of the births take place with the support of trained personnel.
Infant mortality has decreased significantly, mainly as a result of half of newborns being vaccinated, but it was 39 per thousand in 2017, which is significantly higher than average in Southeast Asia. The mortality rate for children under the age of five was 2000 as high as 106 per milliliter, but had decreased to 64 per milliliter in 2010, slightly higher than the average in the region. Malaria and diarrhea are much more common than other countries in Southeast Asia, while HIV is rare. In 2010, 64 percent of the residents had access to clean water, but only 43 per cent had expanded sanitation.
In 2011, an all-inclusive social insurance system was not fully elaborated, and so far only the most vulnerable in society receive state support: war veterans, widows with children, the disabled and the poorest old (60 years and older). The monthly contribution is 20 percent of the state employees’ minimum wage and should be increased when the state can afford it. The country’s large assets in the oil fund are to be used for capital investment and cannot be used for this type of current expenditure. The first step to an extension of social insurance was taken in 2011 when government employees and their families will receive old-age pension and survivor support.
About half of the country’s labor force lacks work or is employed in agriculture. Trade union freedom and strike rights exist but are somewhat unknown to most, as is the meaning of minimum wage and regulated working hours.
The rights of women and children are protected in East Timor both in the Constitution and through ratification of UN conventions. In practice, however, sexual abuse and domestic violence are major problems and the judiciary has a weak capacity to handle such cases, even if they are punishable. In divorce, the woman has no right to the joint estate. In 2009, women held 19 of Parliament’s 65 seats. Since 2005, there has been a human rights ombudsman, who is independent of the government and reports directly to Parliament.