Subject: JP: Manipulation suspected in registration of E. Timor refugees

The Jakarta Post June 13, 2001

Manipulation suspected in registration of refugees

KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara (JP): Changes in the results of last week's registration of East Timorese refugees have aroused suspicion in Kupang of the possible manipulation of registration results.

The refugees chose last week whether to remain in Indonesia or return to East Timor.

The team in charge of the refugee registration said here on Tuesday that the regencies registering ever-changing data included Kupang, Belu and North Central Timor, while 11 other regencies and towns had already submitted their final tallies.

Provisional records show that the number of refugees eligible for the registration rose from 107,588 to 115,983, and the number of those opting to return to East Timor also increased from 1,121 to 1,175. The number of refugees choosing to remain in Indonesia, meanwhile, dropped from 105,450 to 90,458, and the number of abstentions fell from 947 to 635.

The total number of refugees in East Nusa Tenggara as of Tuesday was 53,824 families or 295,744 people, compared to 48,050 families or 268,407 people earlier.

East Nusa Tenggara provincial spokesman Kosapilawan said in Kupang on Tuesday that the changing numbers were the result of calculation errors, not manipulation.

He said that to ensure accuracy, all registration cards would be sent to the provincial and central registration committees to be recounted by computer.

According to unconfirmed reports, nonrefugee residents in a number of regencies took part in the registration process to obtain government aid.

Many people criticized the registration organizing committee for extending the registration, scheduled to be completed on Wednesday last week, until Friday.

The chairman of the organizing committee, Amin Rianom, said earlier that he was ready to take responsibility for the results of the registration.

He said the process was based on international standards and was monitored by foreign observers. (30)

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