Subject: WT Press Summaries 10 - 22 April 2002

Please find below as text, West Timorese press summaries from the last two weeks.

West Timor Press Summaries 10th April - 22nd April 2002 NTT X - NTT Eks pres; PK - Pos Kupang; ST - Surya Timor; RT - Radar Timor; SP - Sasando Pos

Wednesday, 10 April 2002

RT: Although UNTAS' 2000-2002 period of service has just ended, as the only umbrella for the struggle of pro integration groups, it will continue its struggle for a true reconciliation and a solution of East Timor problem in a respectable, fair, and thorough manner. Armindo Soares, the Caretaker Speaker of UNTAS emphasized this in a press release received by Radar Timor yesterday. He stated that the caretaker team would be consistent with their struggle such as to reject the result of referendum held on 30 August 1999 as long as United Nations does not provide clarification of fraud during the ballot or to fight for a better fate for refugees. The caretaker team will also make preparation for the holding of Biti Bot congress II.

RT: As many as 28 pro-independence community leaders throughout the districts in East Timor urged the government of Indonesia to release former Governor of East Timor, Abilio Soares from all accusations in the ongoing human rights violation tribunal in Jakarta. The 28 community leaders revealed their rejection of the trial in a letter sent to Radar Timor, which was signed by a number of leaders such as Oscar Lima, Franusco Bello, Joao B. Aroujo, Sandra Maria Fame, and Manuel C. de Jesus. They revealed that all the accusations made towards the former governor in the trial are untrue. During their time with the former governor, he never once revealed his intention to commit such terror or killings of pro independence supporters. He treated all groups of people in the same way.

RT: A refugee community leader, Humberto Lelo Coli said in Umaklaran village in Atambua on Tuesday that some 236 families or 945 refugees staying in settlement houses in Umaklaran had attended reconciliation meetings held in a neighbouring village with the brothers from East Timor. The meetings produced an agreement for the two groups of communities to conduct visit to each other. Meanwhile, according to data in village administration of Umaklaran, in comparison with the above-mentioned number of refugees staying in the village, the number of locals in the village is 349 families or 1, 643 persons. Only two refugee families (12 persons) have repatriated home since March.

RT: The situation after the government decided to cease assistance to the refugees has forced some refugees to return to East Timor. "I better die of hunger in my motherland than here", Jose Noronha, a refugee was quoted as saying. He is one of hundreds of refugees scheduled to repatriate at dawn on Wednesday (10 April) from Kupang. According to a staff of Satlak PBP of Kupang, 102 refugees are scheduled to repatriate today.

Thursday, 11 April 2002

PK: Speaking to the press after meeting with Parliament members in Kupang on Wedensday (10 April) a local community leader, Pdt. Emiritus C. Nggadas said that the locals living nearby the camps of Tuapukan in Kupang could no longer do anything to prevent disturbances created by the refugees. He appealed TNI/Polri to beef up security measures around the camp. Community leaders of locals living near Tuapukan camp sent a letter to District head of Kupang on 1 April 2002 reporting the loss inflicted by the refugees since the refugees occupied their farming land since 1999. They also reported an increasing number of crimes and thefts around the camp and requested government to appraise for additional stationing of security personnel near the camp.

PK: Minister of Resettlement and Infrastructure, Ir. Soenarno stated in Atambua (9 April) that the Central government will start the local settlement program for the refugees who choose to stay in Indonesia after the repatriation program is completed in June 2002.

Friday, 12 April 2002

PK: Dili based official of New Zealand Embassy, Jonathan Austin acknowledged that the government of Indonesia had wisely handled the East Timor refugees. He said this after making visit to several camps in Belu, West Timor and witnessed the living at camps. He was accompanied by an official of United Kingdom Representative in Dili, Hamish St. Clair Daniel and Martin Breen, an official of New Zealand Office in Dili. The officials came to Belu yesterday to make visits to see the humanitarian assistance given by both governments through Care International.

RT: Provincial Military Chief, Col. Moesanip said yesterday that as many as 20 refugee families residing in Noelbaki camp in Kupang would be relocated to a local settlement in Boneanak, West Kupang sub-district. The 20 refugee families need to be relocated since their presence at camps is considered unfavourable for the togetherness of the community and they have shown efforts to hamper the ongoing repatriation program. He expected that the 20 refugee families to be able to integrate with the local community in the settlement.

Monday, 15 April 2002

PK: During the presidential election in East Timor on 14 April, the security situation around the border areas remained favourable. As agreed on the coordination meeting between TNI and UNPKF, the checkpoints at the border were not closed but the border crossing activity was quiet for the whole day.

PK: Provincial Military Chief of East Nusa Tenggara, Col. M. Moesanip, admitted that there was a manipulation of refugees' data during the registration on 6 June 2001. He predicted that the number of remaining refugees in West Timor would only be around 60, 000 people, out of which, only 10, 000 people would remain in West Timor after the independence on 20 May. He urged the Coordinating Minister of People's Welfare to clarify the remaining number of refugees in West Timor. Responding to the complaints of locals around Tuapukan camp in Kupang district of disturbances by refugees recently, Col. Moesanip promised to take stern measures against the refugees.

RT: Provincial Military Chief of East Nusa Tenggara, Col. M. Moesanip affirmed that the presence of Care International in assisting the refugees at camps in West Timor is not to hamper the repatriation but to assist the refugees in providing water/sanitation service and heath. He gave this statement in response to the accusations given by certain groups of people who blamed the organization to have hampered the repatriation by assisting the refugees with the construction of latrines, water tanks, wells and health posts at camps. All of these were considered to make the refugees feel more comfortable to stay in West Timor. Col, M. Moesanip, defied this accusation saying that the refugees have yet to return since they are just waiting for the right time.

NTT X: Chief of Satlak PBP Belu, Lt Col, Didi Sudiana informed on Friday (12 April) that the repatriation would still be facilitated during the presidential election in East Timor. He is coordinating with UNHCR and IOM Dili for facilitated repatriation on 13 and 15 April although it was agreed before that there would not be any facilitated repatriation during those particular days.

Friday, 19 April 2002

NTT X: Provincial Military Chief, Col. M. Moesanip predicts that the repatriation is likely to increase after Xanana's winning in the election. He said further that based on the mandate given to the military, it will only facilitate the repatriation until 20 May 2002 unless there would be a change of policy from Central government. As of that date, the refugees who want to return to East Timor need to bear all the expenses for travelling to East Timor.

Saturday, 20 April

PK: Caretaker speaker of Untas (Organisation for pro-integration supporters), Armindo Soares Mariano stated in Kupang on Friday (19 April) that Filomeno de Jesus Hornai, known as a moderate Untas member is to hold a position in Xanana's upcoming cabinet. Should it materialize, the mentioned member would no longer pro-integrationist and lose his right to represent Untas, he said. He reminded that up to the present time Untas has yet to acknowledge the result of ballot in 1999, therefore, automatically would not acknowledge any political event occurring in East Timor at present. Confirmed by the press, Jesus de Hornay defied Soares' statement saying that he is close with Xanana since during Xanana's visit in West Timor he was the mediator for Xanana and the refugees and also to remind the importance of reconciliation among East Timorese. He added that he planned to return to East Timor soon but had no interest in holding any position there.

PK: Local communities (some 375 families) in Tuapukan village in Kupang have suffered the loss of approximately Rp. 3 billion since the refugees first occupied the locals' lands in September 1999. They lost their productive farming land to accommodate the refugees. This was stated in their letter to the District head of Kupang signed by 12 community leaders. The locals demanded a short and long term assistance from the Government as the compensation for the loss.

Monday, 22 April 2002

PK: Head of Immigration office of Atambua, Drs, Andrian J. Thedens said on Friday (19 April) that there have been 8, 213 passports issued by the office over the past two years. Out of which, 5, 749 are possessed by the people of East Timor origin in West Timor.

NTT X: Refugees in Naen camp Kefamenanu held a traditional ceremony called "Bongkar Tungku" on Saturday (20 April). Also attending the ceremony were district authorities of North Central Timor such as Police Chief, Adj. Senior. Commissioner, Masan Patty, Military Chief, Lt. Col, Bambang Supriyanto, and Assistant II of District Administration, Damianus Mahir. The ceremony was held to mark the end of East Timorese' living in refuge in West Timor since they have decided to repatriate home to East Timor. According to camp coordinator, Ibergilus Elu, out of 2,168 refugees staying in Naen camp, 525 persons have already returned to East Timor.

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