Subject: East Timorese Refugees' Condition Worsened

Detikworld, October 23, 2000

East Timorese Refugees' Condition Worsened

Reporter: Budi Sugiharto / Fitri & BI

Surabaya - Speaker of the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Provincial Legislative Council, Daniel Woda Palle has claimed that the East Timorese refugees' condition, settled in throughout the NTT province have been tragically declining. He said that the refugees have to be content in living under worn out tents.

To make the matter worse the refugees' health condition are also deteriorating rapidly.

Speaking to reporters in between a discussion sponsored by Care for West Timor Foundation, on The consequences of East Timor conflict to political, economy, security and social welfare on West Timorese held at Majapahit Hotel, Surabaya, East Java, Monday 23/10/2000, Palle said that the East Timorese have been located in 14 different regents within the province. He added that the provincial administration at its breaking point in handling the refugees situation.

Palle has appealed to the central government to immediately solve the refugees' dilemma in NTT province. It has been a year since the refugees have been temporarily settled in the region, however the government has done a little in alleviating their condition. Since these refugees are the victims of a political conflict, Palle hoped that the government is solving the dilemma in a political method.

"These refugees have been the outcome of a political turmoil. Portugal, UNTAET (United Nation Temporary Administration in East Timor), and Indonesia should be responsible for it. Do not cast the burden on NTT's administration alone. We are exhausted," said Palle.

He added that the NTT local government has started to register the refugees and to find out who want to stay in Indonesia and who wish to return to East Timor. Palle said that currently there are 35,517 families or 157,585 of East Timorese refugees registered at the camps.

According to the data, 25,111 families are civilian, 4,512 families of members of the Indonesian Armed Forces and 1,894 families from Indonesian Police and staff. Apart from East Timorese refugees, there are also 3,062 refugees from conflict torn areas such as Maluku, Ambon and Central Sulawesi. There are also 47 Iraqi illegal immigrants have been registered at the refugee camps.

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