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DATE=11/12/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=EAST TIMOR REFUGEES NUMBER=2-256087 BYLINE=GORDON MARTIN DATELINE=GENEVA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The U-N refugee agency (U-N-H-C-R) says it still is facing problems in organizing the return of thousands of East Timorese refugees. Gordon Martin reports from Geneva. TEXT: The U-N refugee agency says many of the problems are caused by the same people who caused East Timor residents to flee to West Timor: militia groups angered by the East Timor vote to break away from Indonesia. U-N-H-C-R says the militias control camps in West Timor where the refugees are living. The agency says it is worried about the plight of the refugees -- and the safety of its own staff -- because of repeated incidents of harassment and intimidation. U-N-H-C-R spokesman Ron Redmond says, that in the past two weeks, there have been at least 19 incidents of harassment of U-N staff, aid workers, and refugees in West Timor's Atambua area -- where most of the refugees are living in about 40 camps. /// OPT /// On Friday, a U-N-H-C-R team went to a camp in Atambua, but was prevented from escorting 50 refugees who said they wanted to return to East Timor. The U-N workers were stopped by a crowd of women and children who blocked the camp entrance. /// END OPT /// But Mr. Redmond says there are some indications that tensions may be easing. /// REDMOND ACT /// There have been some encouraging signs of (Indonesian) army cooperation in the Kupang area. Military officials today told the U-N-H- C-R that they will deploy some troops at Noelbaki camp to allow U-N-H-C-R staff to begin repatriation of some seven-thousand refugees who are there. We've been having trouble in Noelbaki camp since the beginning of the refugee crisis in West Timor. And in early September, U-N-H-C-R officials visiting the camp were attacked and two of them sustained injuries. So this is a good development with military presence now arriving. /// END ACT /// Mr. Redmond says more than 56-thousand refugees have gone home to East Timor since the repatriation program began five weeks ago. (Signed) NEB/GM/JWH/JO 12-Nov-1999 10:19 AM EDT (12-Nov-1999 1519 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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