Subject: Refugees Mistreated in Sumatra

Refugees Mistreated in Sumatra

NTT X – "Refugees report to NTT Vice-Governor: Cheated by PT CVP manager"

SoE – E. Timor refugees recruited by PT CVP to work on copra plantations in south Sumatera reported the manager of that company, Ms. Wati, to the NTT Vice-Gov. Drs. Johnaes Pake Pani. The refugees feel cheated by Ms. Wati because what they faced in Sumatera wasn’t at all what they had been promised before they left last January.

David da Costa, one of those cheated, reported on Friday (28/4) to the Vice-Gov. and TTS Regent, Willem Nope and to the Chair of the TTS parliament, Drs. Marthen Asbanu in Soe. David said that he and 210 E. Timor refugees, before they left, were promised a salary as much as Rp. 200.000,- every three weeks. However, they only received Rp. 5.000, to Rp. 10.000,- and 10 kilograms of rice for three weeks. Therefore they decided to return to NTT. "We protested but it wasn’t addressed by the business. Finally we made the decision to return to NTT last 4 April." He explained that the company had already recruited 605 E. Timorese to work on copra plantations owned by someone from Macao, but because they felt cheated, 92 had returned to NTT and 400 others were already wanting to return. The refugees recruited by Ms. Wati who is also a social worker, left in three waves. The first consisted of 85 people to work for one year, the second of 210 people to work for two years, and the third of 310 people contracted to work for three years. "92 people who have already returned immediately headed for Atambua, Kefa, Soe and Kupang," said David. The Vice-Gov. asked that David and his colleagues prepare a written report of all the problems they faced while working in the copra fields. He also asked that those who had returned to NTT to sign up for rice aid and food supplement money like other refugees. "I can’t yet take a position because I first need to confirm with the copra plantation manager. If there’s evidence of abuse of Employment Office regulations it will be firmly acted upon," said the Vice-Gov.

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