Subject: AFP: UNHCR again urges separation of soldiers from refugees

Agence France Presse

UNHCR again urges separation of soldiers from East Timorese refugees \JAKARTA, April 11

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) met with a senior Indonesian military officer Tuesday to urge the separation of soldiers from East Timorese refugees in West Timorese camps, the UNHCR said.

In a statement released in Geneva and received here, the UHCR said the meeting had been held in Kupang, the capital of Indonesian-controlled West Timor, with area commander Major General Kiki Shyanakri.

Its representatives "reiterated UNHCR's request for the separation of East Timorese enlisted in the Indonesian Army (TNI), police and former militia members from refugees," the statement said.

Syahnakri said he would begin to move East Timorese TNI now at the Noelbaki refugee camp outside Kupang to nearby Naimbonat, an Indonesian army facility which also hosts East Timorese TNIs and their families, it added.

Some 2,686 East Timorese TNI are scattered in refugee settlements in West Timor, but it was unclear what measures would be taken with respect to the other settlements sheltering TNI, or ex-militias.

The UNHCR has been urging Indonesian officials to separate pro-Indonesian elements controlling the camps to allow the voluntary repatriation of more than 100,000 refugees still left in West Timor.

The statement said separation had become "crucial" after it was decided that UNHCR will begin late this month or early in May to direct distribution in the refugee settlements of food rations from the government, the World Food Program and other aid agencies.

Some 250,000 refugees fled or were forcibly deported to West Timor during a wave of Indonesian army-back militia violence which swept East Timor in September after the territory voted for independence from Indonesia.

Many have returned with the assistance of the UNHCR, including the first soldiers, but government figures put the number remaining in the camps at some 134,000.


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