Subject: JRS West Timor update

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Date: 24 Dec 2002 Update from JRS Indonesia No. 32

JRS West Timor

On the brink of cessation clause execution, some organization such as IOM, UNHCR, and the government through Satkorlak and even with Governor official letter have speed activities to bring up the information to the refugees. Through radio broadcasting (RRI=state radio), television, pamphlets, newspaper and direct socialization, they inform to refugees about the stop of repatriation assistance after December 31, 2002, resettlement programs, pension, and some other infos on consequences when the cessation clause is implemented. Despites this facts, many staying refugees haven't yet decided to move out from the camps. Besides some classical reasons, such as waiting for the harvest, there are some reasons for not returning home:

1. Wait for bigger money incentive. Many of them said,"It used to be Rp 750,000 for each family before August 2002, and then the incentives for repatriation was stopped. But then the GOI gives money incentives again, even increases up to Rp 1.500.000,! We will wait until the GOI give us Rp 5,000,000,- or Rp 10,000,000!!!"

2. In Kupang, most refugees are TNI members or civil servants. They are still waiting for their pension.

3. Ex militias members commited either minor or serious crimes do not want to return for distrust of the effectiveness of law and order in East Timor.

4. Long history of their attachment to Indonesia's history, especially to those families who joined integration war for Indonesia in 1959 and 1975.

5. Women, old people and children can not take their own decision to return home because it is men's.

6. Some refugees are going to join resettlement programs in West Sumba (though they are not sure when they will be resettled).

7. Refugees are not sure and do not believe that the GOI and international world will eliminate refugees' status just like that. They are not sure that the GOI will let them suffer or pay less attention to refugees. They have learned from the cessation of repatriation assistance which was stopped in August but then it is given back started from November.

8. They see that transportation facility for their repatriation is not a big deal since they knew how to come to West Timor. They're sure they could return back on their own as well. They know how to cross river (this is comment from the refugees originally come from Hatas, Maliana and Bobonaro sub-district)

9. Refugees assured us that they will certainly return to East Timor, but never know when. They still have to wait until the situation in East Timor is safe for them. Some of them openly admitted that they have problems on properties. Some of them are afraid of retaliation. They admitted that their problem is unsolvable and irreconcilable, added more with the vengeful characteristics of East Timorese.

10. Some of them want to apply as Indonesia citizen. They have been waiting for 7,5 million Rupiah of money assistance for refugees staying in Indonesia (they really believe this non-sense rumor from the unreliable sources who still want to hold them in the camps).

11. Refugees want to stay in the place where they are currently residing now. They don't want to move out, to resettlement sites or transmigration location, and of course not to return home. They are not afraid with the government (KODIM=District military command) if they were forced to move out they would persist on staying in the camps.

12. Civil servants, police officers, and TNI refugees do not want to return home, because they are afraid that they will hardly find a job there. While, in Indonesia they are still well paid though they haven't actively work.

More than 250.000 East Timorese fled to West Timor and other parts of the world when riots occurred in East Timor aftermath 1999 ballots won by pro-independence party. There are still thousands of the fled people staying in the camps.

Pos Kupang (Tuesday, 24 December 2002) reported that 54 families (205) people from Dualaus camp, in Kakulukmesak, Belu district were departed to Lolokelai II in Sumba Barat (West Sumba) on Saturday 21 December 2002. They are local resettlement program participants facilitated by Nakertrans (Transmigration and Man Power Department).

Pos Kupang (Tuesday, 24 December 2002)-Presidium Pengungsi Timor-Timur (East Timor Refugees Presidium=claimant of refugees representatives) justified the use of maximal data as a base to obtain rice assistance from the government of Italia. The sum reaches 22,886 families. The Italian government has given 116 tons of rice for refugees in which the distribution has created disputes among refugees, especially camp coordinators.

Yeni Kristanti National Information Officer of JRS Indonesia


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