Subject: AN: Refugee Families to Leave Camps
EX-E TIMORESE REFUGEE FAMILIES TO LEAVE CAMPS
October 23, 2003 9:32pm Antara
Atambua, Oct 21 (ANTARA) - As many as 850 families of ex-East Timorese refugees are expected to leave their camps soon to live at new resettlement areas in East Nusa Tenggara province's district of Belu, a military officer has said.
"By the end of December, 2003, most of the former East Timorese refugees are expected to have dwelled at houses worth resettling," Chief of the Belu district military command Lt. Col. Ganip Warsito said here Tuesday.
Warsito pointed out that the ex-regugee resettlement program in Belu got financial supports from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The 850 houses are now under construction at seven locations -- 250 units in Manleten village of Tasifeto Timur subdistrict, 100 units in Naekasa village of Tasifeto Barat subdistrict and 500 units in Asulun and Haliulun villages in Tasifeto Timur subdistrict, Tubaki and Kamanasa villages in Malaka Tengah subdistrict, and Naemana village in Malaka Tengah subdistrict.
The houses in Manleten and Naekasa whose construction is near completion would be earmarked for former East Timorese refugees now living at refugee camps in Tulamale and Haliwen in Atambua.
The houses in Naemana village would be occupied by ex-East Timorese refugees living at emergency refugee camps located in the vicinity of Kateri forest in Malaka Tengah subdistrict.
"By the end of 2003, only a small number of ex-East Timorese refugees stay at emergency camps and they are expected to live in new resettlement areas in 2004," Warsito said.
According to Warsito, the ex-East Timorese refugee issue and the resettlement program were discussed at a Belu district leadership meeting on October 21, 2003.
Meanwhile, Belu district chief Marsellus Bere welcomed the plan to resettle the ex-East Timorese refugees and promised to help make the program run well.
The Indonesian government was rather disturbed by the issue on the ex-East Timorese refugees who had fled from East Timor due to upheavals following the popular consultation in the nascent state in 1999.
After the secession of East Timor from Indonesia, the two neighboring countries frequently found social problems including the recent shooting of an Indonesian of East Timorese descent by an East Timorese policeman on the border area.
Another problem was about the 26 East Timorese who were reported on Monday (October 20) to seek asylum because of alleged intimidation of the pro-independence group.
However, Chief of the East Nusa Tenggara provincial military command Col. Moeswarno Moesanip said he was not sure that they sought asylum due to intimidation as he believed they did so because of economic hardship they were facing in East Timor.
East Timor officially seceded from the unitary state of Indonesia in October, 1999, as a consequence of the pro-independence camp's victory in the United Nations organized popular consultation held on August 30, 1999.
The territory integrated into Indonesia in 1976 but the United Nations never recognized the integration process.