In 1999, Australia led the international force that saw the removal of the occupying Indonesian power from the former Portuguese territory of East Timor. To recognise the importance of this operation, the International Force East Timor Medal was established in 2000. As well as being awarded to members of the ADF, the medal was offered by Australia to all countries that provided contingents to the International Force in East Timor.
The basic eligibility requirement for the medal is 30 days service in the prescribed area during the period 16 September 1999 to 10 April 2000.
Prior to the cessation of International Force in East Timor, the United Nations-led Operation TANAGER commenced in East Timor, thus creating a 50 day overlap of operations in the same area. Australian Defence Force personnel deployed on Operation TANAGER who met the qualifying conditions are eligible for the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor Medal (UNTAET Medal), not the International Force in East Timor Medal. The new determination clarifies the operational overlap in relation to medallic entitlement.
The medal is cast metal with the obverse having an outline map of East Timor and its territories, combined with an outline figure of the dove of peace with olive branch, surrounded by the words ‘INTERNATIONAL FORCE EAST TIMOR’.
The reverse has the words ‘TOGETHER AS ONE FOR PEACE IN EAST TIMOR’ around the circumference.
The ribbon has a central red stripe, flanked by stripes of green, white and pale blue. The white, green and blue stripes represent the Navy, Army and Air Force, with dual representation of white for peace, blue for the sea surrounding East Timor and green for the regrowth of a new nation. The central red stripe represents the turbulent past of East Timor.