Subject: 140,000 E. Timorese Refugees Not Yet Repatriated

[Poster's Note: Please note these figures on the refugees, as usual, do not bear any resemblance to those of any UN or other international agencies or of West Timorese NGOs.]

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Xinhua News Service March 12, 2002

140,000 E. Timorese Refugees Not Yet Repatriated


Around 140,000 East Timorese refugees are currently still staying at camps in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara (West Timor) pending their repatriation to their homeland.

"The number used to reach 280,000 but it has now dropped to 140,000. They are now staying at 174 camps in West Timor," East Nusa Tenggara Governor Piet A. Tallo said in Bali on Monday.

He was quoted by the Antara News Agency Tuesday as saying that the repatriation process still continues with 90 to 500 refugees being repatriated to East Timor a day.

Tallo admitted that some of the refugees are still reluctant to return to their homeland for fear of their safety and other considerations.

The Indonesian government and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) have opened three access points at border to carry out a repatriation program.

The program has been supported by the International Organization of Migration which is responsible for transportation facility and the Indonesian Defense forces which is responsible for security at the camps and routes to East Timor.

Tallo said the Indonesian government has also opened 11 entry points at the border to promote the program.

Regarding security at the border, Tallo said it is peaceful and stable although clashes and violations still occur because of unclear border line.

Hundreds of thousands of East Timorese fled to East Nusa Tenggara to avoid massive violence in the wake of the U.N.-administered ballot in August 1999, which led to East Timor's secession from Indonesia.

East Timor becomes independent on May 20 this year.

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