TITLE=EAST TIMOR REFUGEES
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
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)
12-Nov-1999 10:19 AM EDT (12-Nov-1999 1519 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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