Timor-Leste, a nation with a long history of turmoil and human rights abuses declared independence in late 1975 after 400 years of Portuguese colonisation. Later in the same year it was occupied by Indonesia and declared Indonesia's 27th province. It was not until the UN-sponsored act of self determination in 1999 that Indonesia relinquished control of the territory and Timor-Leste became the first new sovereign state of the 21st Century on 20 may 2002.
Between 2007 and 2009, East Timor's fragile peace process was on the brink of collapse as the return of both the refugees and the internally displaced persons caused a major increase in conflicts over land. A network of community mediators was trained and deployed with the assistance of the UN, and their conflict resolution efforts had enabled the return and resettlement of 13,000 families by 2010. In recognition of these efforts, the government is now working with UNDP to establish a new Department for Peace-building, so that the country has its own standing system for internal mediation.