Subject: Lusa: Sampaio Urges Action Against Refugee Disinformation Campaigns

East Timor: Sampaio Urges Action Against Refugee Disinformation Campaigns 6 Jun-11:20

Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio has urged United Nations agencies to combat disinformation campaigns which are partly responsible for the reluctance of East Timorese refugees to return home from Indonesia. In a meeting Monday with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata in Geneva, Sampaio suggested the UNHCR recruit staff to deal specifically with the issue in camps holding some 100,000 refugees in West Timor. Anti-independence militias have campaigned against repatriation, in part by falsely insisting that East Timor faces hunger, lack of potable water and security for returnees. Acknowledging the problem, Ogata said Indonesia should not only keep the militia groups from the refugee camps but see that they were removed from West Timor itself. Sampaio and Ogata also discussed issues related to the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people in Angola, like East Timor a former Portuguese colony. The UNHCR said Sampaio was the first head of state ever to visit its headquarters. Sampaio was in Geneva to give the keynote speech to the annual conference of the International Labor Organization.

SAS -Lusa-

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