7 April 2016
East Timor may be looking towards a brighter future, as the Australian Labor Party (ALP) has signalled its commitment to enter fresh negotiations with East Timor to establish permanent maritime boundaries and the commitment to take the dispute to independent arbitration if necessary.
This development was welcomed by the spokesperson for the Timor Sea Justice Campaign Tom Clarke, who stated that the ALP committing to follow international law will inevitably result in the fair establishment of maritime borders.
Following a long struggle for independence from Indonesia, East Timor became a sovereign nation in 2002, and has yet to experience complete closure with legal maritime borders. The Australian government has only allowed for temporary resource sharing agreements after having withdrawn it’s recognition of the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the ICJ and the International Tribunal of the Laws of the Sea just prior to East Timor’s independence.
It is in East Timor’s legal right to have established boundaries and full access to the billions of dollars in oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Not only would fair boundary agreements contribute tremendously to the growth of one of the poorest countries in Asia, but would also help rebuild the Australian governments tarnished reputation.
The Timor Sea Justice Campaign is holding a series of protest actions, to stand in solidarity with East Timor and their legal right to what is theirs.