For various historical reasons, East Timor has never had maritime boundaries.
As a sovereign nation East Timor wants maritime boundaries and is legally entitled to have them.Unfortunately, the Australian Government has persistently refused to establish permanent maritime boundaries with East Timor in accordance with current international law.
Australia has even withdrawn its recognition of the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal of the Laws of the Sea, leaving East Timor with no legal avenues to assert its rights.
The uneven negotiating positions have resulted in a series of temporary resource sharing agreements that short-change East Timor of billions of dollars worth of government royalties generated by oil and gas resources located in the Timor Sea.
Not only would permanent boundaries bring some closure to the Timorese’s long and determined struggle to become an independent and sovereign nation, but they could deliver a significant income to the second poorest country in Asia.
For example, the Greater Sunrise gas field located 100 kilomtres from East Timor’s coastline is expected to generate about $40 billion in government revenues. If boundaries were established in accordance with international law, Greater Sunrise would lie entirely within East Timor’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The Timor Sea Justice Campaign is comprised of concerned Australians of various ages, backgrounds and political persuasion who all want our Government to give East Timor a fair go.
Specifically, we’re calling for the establishment of permanent maritime boundaries between East Timor and Australia in accordance with international law – that is, the boundary should be drawn along the median line halfway between the two countries’ coastlines.
Tom Clarke, TSJC spokesperson, on 0422 545 763