Subject: JP: East Timorese refugee camps to be closed by year's end

East Timorese refugee camps to be closed by year's end

The Jakarta Post (on line)

19 September 2002

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian government and international agencies have agreed that as of Dec. 31 this year, all East Timorese refugee camps in West Timor will be shut down.

The government and international agencies would start a new phase of moving the remaining refugees to resettlement areas, East Nusa Tenggara Vice Governor Johanis Pake Pani said in the provincial capital Kupang on Wednesday as quoted by Antara.

Thousands of East Timorese took refuge in East Nusa Tenggara following the outbreak of violence in East Timor in reaction to the victory of the pro-independence camp in a UN-organized people's ballot in 1999.

East Timor formally became an independent state on May 20, 2002. Many of the refugees have in the meantime returned to East Timor but others, mainly linked to the former Indonesian occupiers, have chosen to stay in West Timor.

"We are now preparing to develop the resettlement areas and it is hoped this can be accomplished soon so that all the remaining East Timorese can move in," Pake Pani said.

He said several donor countries had expressed a readiness to help fund the resettlement project.

The development of the resettlement areas will be directly handled by the UNHCR while the regional administration will act as a facilitator, he said.

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