Subject: AFP: Four Indonesian NGOs to resume helping East Timorese refugees

Also: Indonesia sets up team to deal with Timor refugees

Four Indonesian NGOs to resume helping East Timorese refugees

JAKARTA, Oct 4 (AFP) - Four Indonesian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on Wednesday announced their intention to resume humanitarian activities among East Timorese refugees in camps in West Timor.

The four NGOs were the Atambua Bishopric Foundation (Yaska), the Jesuit Refugees Services (JRS), the Solidarity Foundation (Yasso) and the Society Self-help Empowerment (BST), the state Antara news agency said.

All humanitarian relief organizations, foreign and local, halted operations in Indonesian West Timor after the brutal killing of three UN relief workers at the border town of Atambua on September 6.

Antara said the four NGOs made the announcement after refugee representatives and former pro-Indonesia East Timorese leaders met in Atambua with the local bishop, Anton Pain Ratu.

"Today, the Yaska office reopened to give humanitarian services to refugees. We believe the refugee leaders will provide concrete security protection to Yaska personnel working at the refugee camps," Yaska head, Father Jerry Lanigan, said.

Lanigan said many international NGOs, including the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), had expressed their readiness to resume humanitarian aid to the refugees on condition their safety be guaranteed.

The head of the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) for Atambua, Sister Clara, Yasso director Vinsensius B Loe, and BST director Maksi Sbutho have also declared the readiness of their organizations to resume activities, without giving a date.

Some 130,000 East Timorese refugees are believed to be still sheltering in refugee camps in West Timor, which the government intends to close soon because of lack of funds.

The refugees were among 300,000 who fled East Timor when pro-Indonesia militias launched a campaign of terror, murder and destruction after the territory voted overwhelmingly to split from Indonesia last year.

bs/kw/ajp AFP

----- Indonesia sets up team to deal with Timor refugees

JAKARTA, Oct 4 (AFP) - Indonesia on Wednesday announced an inter-ministerial task force to prepare for the repatriation and resettlement of some 130,000 East Timorese refugees living in camps in West Timor.

"The task force has been established and now we are working on the composition of its personnel," Attorney General Marzuki Darusman told journalists after a meeting to discuss the formation of the team.

Darusman said the team, drawn from several ministries, the military and the police, would start work as soon as a decree on its establishment was issued by the ministry of political and security affairs.

Jakarta has been under intense United Nations and world pressure to clean up the West Timor camps and the militia that live among the refugees since the murder of three UN aid workers there on September 6.

The task force is aimed at solving "residual problems" that followed East Timor's vote for independence from Indonesia last year, Darusman said.

The government has said it would close the squalid camps in West Timor and repatriate or resettle the remaining refugees, who fled East Timor when the ballot's announcement unleashed a violent rampage by pro-Jakarta militiamen.

Marzuki said the government would soon re-register the refugees to determine those who want to return to their homeland and those who want to remain in Indonesia.

"The deadline (for re-registration) is 12 October," he said. Efforts to disarm the militiamen were continuing, Darusman added.

Minister of Settlements, Erna Witular, said Indonesia had insufficient funds to resettle the refugees to other areas in Indonesia.

"The budget has been allocated but it's not enough," she said.

Witular said the international community had yet to pledge financial assistance for the resettlement efforts.


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