|Subject: Bishop Belo urges UN intervention in W
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 10:23:49 -0400
also: Ogata reassured by Indonesian officials of safety of UN workers
Bishop Belo urges UN intervention in West Timor
LISBON, Sept 21 (AFP) - The bishop of Dili, Carlos Ximenes Belo, on Tuesday urged the United Nations to intervene in West Timor, where thousands of East Timorese refugees faced persecution.
"I have heard that they (the refugees) are being persecuted, and barring urgent intervention by the United Nations, notably at the legal level, they could fall victim to Indonesian savagery," Belo said during a visit to Oporto, northern Portugal.
Human Rights Watch has said that thousands of East Timorese had been forced into the western half of the island, under Indonesian control, and could then face transfer to other parts of Indonesia.
Some 200,000 East Timorese were believed to be in West Timor.
Belo, a Nobel peace prize laureate, expressed satisfaction at the deployment of a multinational force in East Timor but cautioned: "It will have to advance into the interior to protect the people throughout the territory."
He said he had no immediate plans to return to East Timor. "I am waiting for it to be pacified, and I shall return when the refugees who are currently in Australia have returned home," he said.
Ogata reassured by Indonesian officials of safety of UN workers
GENEVA, Sept 21 (AFP) - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata has received assurances from Indonesian officials that UNHCR relief personnel working in Timor would be safe, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski said Tuesday.
"It remains to be seen how the commitments given to her in Jakarta translate on the ground, particularly in West Timor," he said.
Ogata completed a three-day visit to Indonesia Tuesday that included meetings with Indonesian President B.J. Habibie and Defense Minister General Wiranto.
A delegation comprising representatives of several non-governmental organizations and coordinated by the UNHCR is scheduled to arrive Wednesday in West Timor to devise a plan of action for humanitarian relief.
The refugee camps in West Timor are overpopulated and lack the necessary food, medicine, water and sanitary equipment, Ogata said after her brief visit Sunday to the province. She visited refugee camps in Atambua, near the border between East and West Timor, and at the stadium in Kupang, capital of the Indonesian province.
The priority is to provide drinking water in the camps, UNHCR officials said.
Humanitarian aid in East Timor will resume once troops from the International Force in East Timor (Interfet) are fully deployed, officials added.
The Indonesian government estimates that about 200,000 refugees have left East Timor for the western part of the island.
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