Picture a Dry Riverbed: Dangerous Days: a personal story of unarmed Aussie Coppers in East Timor in 1999. The location: The mountainous district of Ermera, East Timor. The Participants: Locals from the various Timorese factions; Indonesian Police and Military; International Electoral Observers; United Nations personnel, paid staff, international volunteers, locally employed staff, three Military Liaison Officers and twenty five Police Officers from 8 nations.

The task: To organise and conduct a vote, known as the Popular Consultation, on East Timor remaining as part of Indonesia or becoming an independent nation. The story — how the determination, dedication and courage, often to the point of valour, of the UN personnel overcame all obstacles and faced down all threats which enabled the East Timorese to exercise their right to decide.


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