Subject: UNHCR says militias impeding repatriation

Also: One in four E.Timor child refugees malnourished-UN

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts Wednesday, January 05, 2000 Source: Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 0555 gmt 4 Jan 00

UNHCR says militias impeding repatriation

Dili, East Timor, 4th January: Pro-Jakarta militias in Indonesian-controlled West Timor are impeding the return of more than 100,000 refugees to East Timor, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Tuesday [4th January].

Paul Stromberg told Kyodo News the militias have threatened UNHCR personnel and have told them "not to contact people in the camps".

The militias are also misinforming the East Timorese refugees by telling them the situation in East Timor is "getting worse", Stromberg said...

Stromberg emphasized that the militias are preventing the free movement of UN officials in the refugee camps...

Stromberg said a number of refugees who have refused or hesitated to return to East Timor are misinformed. Some of the people who were officials in East Timor's former Indonesian administration are also in refugee camps in West Timor, he added.

He said they are unsure of what will happen to them if they return to East Timor.

The refugees are a priority concern for the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor, which will run the territory for the next two to three years...

One in four E.Timor child refugees malnourished-UN

JAKARTA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - A quarter of East Timorese children in refugee camps in West Timor suffer from acute malnutrition, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday.

``That as much as one-fourth of the children are acutely malnourished is an alarming situation and warrants immediate remedial action,'' UNICEF said in a statement.

The figure is based on a joint nutritional assessment by UNICEF and the Indonesian government in refugee camps in Belu district, West Timor, which is on the border with East Timor.

UNICEF said there are currently around 100,000 refugees still staying in the district. Nutritional levels in other refugee camps are considered to be of similar levels, it said.

Hundreds of thousands of East Timorese fled the ravaged territory following a wave of violence by pro-Jakarta militias, backed by elements in the Indonesian military. The violence broke out after the announcement of the result of the independence ballot, showing overwhelming rejection of Jakarta's rule.

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