Subject: AN: E Timorese refugees in Belu may seek political asylum

East Timorese refugees in Belu may seek political asylum

Antara ­ The Indonesian National News Agency via NewsEdge Corporation: 12/23/2002

Atambua, East Nusa Tenggara, Dec 23 (ANTARA) ­ A number of community leaders of East Timorese refugees in Belu district, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province, will seek political asylum in the US if they feel pressured by the Indonesian government's policies, spokesman said.

"We have the right to ask for political asylum if we feel cornered in the future. We cannot be forced to leave Belu district which shares a border with East Timor," said Joao da Silva Tavares, former commander of the Pro-Jakarta East Timor movement, in Atambua, on Monday.

According to him, the effort to seek political asylum will be made if the government of Indonesia continues to force its will to disband the concentration of East Timorese refugees in NTT border areas.

Therefore he advised the Indonesian government , especially the policy makers, to pay more attention to East Timorese refugees who love the "red-and-white" flag and prefer to live in border areas Indonesia shares with East Timor.

"I think there are many areas available in Belu district that could be used by East Timorese refugees, who love the red-and-while flag, to build a new life," he said.

Commenting on the policy the government of Indonesia should take, he said it was certainly the main task and responsibility of the central government as the leader of the nation and the state.

He said the central government should also be obligated to empower East Timorese refugees who are still loyal to the unitary state of Indonesia.

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