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DATE=10/22/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=UNHCR TIMOR (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-255369 BYLINE=LISA SCHLEIN DATELINE=GENEVA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The United Nations Refugee Agency, U-N-H- C-R, says anti-independence militias are preventing thousands of East Timorese refugees in West Timor from going home. Lisa Schlein in Geneva reports the agency says it also is alarmed by the deteriorating situation in refugee camps in the Atambua area of West Timor. TEXT: The U-N Refugee Agency says it is concerned by the abrupt halt of spontaneous returns to East Timor. U-N-H-C-R Spokesman, Kris Janowski says some two-thousand people crossed over the border from West Timor by foot on Wednesday before the returns were suddenly stopped. He says it is not clear why the returns have not resumed. ///JANOWSKI ACT/// But we do believe there are tens of thousands of people stuck on the other side of the border who want to cross and are unable to do so; (they are) probably prevented from crossing by the anti- independence militias. ///END ACT/// Mr. Janowski says the militias also have been intimidating East Timorese refugees who want to be repatriated by the U-N Refugee Agency. On Thursday, he says, armed militia entered a registration center in a parish in Kupang, West Timor and tried to intimidate the people wanting to return. Despite the harassment, Mr. Janowski says thousands of East Timorese are voluntarily asking to be returned home. He says the U-N Refugee Agency the living conditions of the more than 100-thousand East Timorese refugees in Atambua alarming. He says these people are living in overcrowded, unsanitary makeshift camps. /// SECOND JANOWSKI ACT /// It's already raining in that area. The danger of disease epidemic is growing. Aid agencies tonight are sending a convoy with mostly medical supplies to the area. But, access is still very, very limited, extremely tentative because of the remoteness of some of the sites. But also because of continued militia presence. And, approaching these sites is still very risky. ///END ACT/// On the positive side, the refugee agency reports almost 10-thousand East Timorese have returned home over the past two weeks. On Friday, nearly two-thousand East Timorese arrived in Dili from West Timor by boat. (Signed) NEB/LS/GE/ENE/KL 22-Oct-1999 12:09 PM EDT (22-Oct-1999 1609 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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