Companion to East Timor - Death Tolls in East Timor

Death Tolls in East Timor

Sarah Staveteig, a demographer at the University of California – Berkeley, applied standard demographic methods of indirect estimation and found that 'a reasonable upper bound on excess deaths during [the occupation was] 204,000 (± 51,000)'. Staveteig considered it 'likely that 204,000 is a conservative upper-bound estimate on excess mortality.'1

The Human Rights Data Analysis Group of Benetech, an organization devoted to using technology in the service of humanity, worked with East Timor's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation to establish the death tolls. It concluded that the 'minimum-bound for the number of conflict-related deaths' was 102,800 (± 12,000), and the upper bound may have been as high as 183,000.2


1S. Staveteig, How Many Persons in East Timor Went 'Missing' During the Indonesian Occupation?: Results from Indirect Estimates. (Austria: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, 2007: 14).

2Report by the Benetech Human Rights Data Analysis Group to the CAVR, The Profile of Human Rights Violations in Timor-Leste, 1974-1999, R. Silva and P. Ball, 9 February 2006. See also CAVR, Chega, Chapter 6, para 8, p. 3.