Selected postings from east-timor (reg.easttimor)

Subject: Jesuit Refugee Service ends operation in West Timor

Jesuit Refugee Service ends operation in West Timor

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) ends its operation in West Timor as of November 30, 2004. The organization has worked with the former East Timorese refugees since 1999, assisting thousands of refugess with education and health care. JRS has also worked closely with UNHCR, IOM, the government and other agencies to repatriate refugees, resettlement outside Timor and local integration. JRS has also worked with UNHCR and the Timorese Red Cross to trace separated children accross the boarder between East and West Timor.

JRS first arrived in times of emergency when more than 300,000 fled across the boarder to West Timor to escape the violence that erupted following the in referendum of independence for East Timor. Since then, most refugees have been able to return home. 16,000 East Timorese still remain, and have been granted Indonesian citizenship.

The decision to close the programs was made based on the knowledge that the number of refugees in West Timor has been reduced, and there is no longer an emergency situation. This does not mean that all problems have been solved for the remaining former refugees. "Durable solutions should still be a priority to ensure lasting stability in Timor. In our experience, development programs to empower the local population to absorb the remaining refugees are mostly needed," JRS Indonesia National Director Edi Mulyono says. "As JRS is not a development agency, we are hopeful that with the lowering of the UN security level in West Timor, other agencies will be able to implement good programs, which will be beneficial to both the old and new population in West Timor."

JRS announces that all future communication about West Timor should be directed to the national office in Yogyakarta.

A document with recommendations presented at seminars on durable solutions for the former East Timorese refugees in Kupang and Atambua, West Timor, October 2004, is available in English and Indonesia upon request to Ingvild Solvang (

Publication Date : December 7, 2004 02:23 PM

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