Subject: KY: UNAMET resumes operations in E. Timor hot bed
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 1999 09:23:53 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

UNAMET resumes operations in E. Timor hot bed

07/14/1999 Japan Economic Newswire Kyodo News International Inc

DILI, East Timor , July 14 --

The U.N. Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) resumed activities Wednesday in the former Portuguese colony's Liquica Regency, the hottest bed of violence in the region, 10 days after it withdrew all its staff following an attack by pro-Indonesia vigilantes.

Spokesman David Wimhurst told a press conference in Dili the returning staff members are 10 unarmed civilian police advisers, two military liaison officers, a U.N. security officer and eight district electoral officers (DEOs).

Wimhurst said the electoral officers would commute from Dili pending improvement in UNAMET's local accommodation.

"Until the (accommodation improvement) is finalized, the DEOs will be coming and going," he said, adding the electoral officers "are fully ready to start registration."

In the wake of the violence and threats of more violence against UNAMET in the week prior to the Liquica attack July 4, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan postponed until Friday this week the voter registration date, originally slated to begin Tuesday.

On July 4, a humanitarian convoy for more than 7,500 internally displaced people in Liquica and neighboring Ermera Regency were attacked on their way back to Dili by gangs of pro-Indonesia militias.

Some UNAMET members were with the convoy because the Indonesian police refused to escort the convoy.

Liquica is about 40 km west of Dili, East Timor 's capital.

Wednesday's resumption of activities by UNAMET in Liquica followed a high-level assurance of security Monday by 11 Indonesian cabinet ministers during a visit to East Timor .

UNAMET is preparing a referendum for around 400,000 eligible East Timorese voters. They will vote Aug. 21 or 22 whether to accept Indonesia-sponsored special autonomy or reject it.

Indonesia invaded the territory in 1975 and unilaterally annexed it the following year, a move never recognized by the United Nations.

The referendum -- called "a popular consultation" under an agreement between Portugal and Indonesia -- was originally slated for Aug. 8 but later rescheduled following growing tension sparked by a militia attack on UNAMET's office in Maliana Regency 140 km southwest of Dili.

Back to July Menu
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu
June '98 through February '99