BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home    June news

"Their presence in the camps would be terrifying. They have been trying to keep the refugees in the camps as one of their main political objectives. ... If, after the census, those who want to come back are not provided with the means, they will be more vulnerable than ever and exposed to those who have power in the camps, the militias." Mr Joaquim Fonseca, East Timorese human rights foundation Yayasan-Hak
See also: BD: 'Refugees' & Missing Persons - A collection of recent information, reports, articles and news

BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news

Sydney Morning Herald

June 7, 2001

Fears over returning East Timor refugees

By Mark Dodd, Herald Correspondent in Dili

East Timorese languishing in Indonesian refugee camps were asked yesterday if they wanted to stay or go home as aid agencies warned that those who opted to go home faced violent retaliation from the militias who control the camps.

Indonesia promised tough measures to ensure a peaceful registration of the estimated 85,000 East Timorese still in the camps in Indonesian West Timor.

They are the remnants of about 250,000 who fled or were deported by Indonesian security forces and their militia allies after East Timor voted to secede from Indonesia in August 1999.

More than 4,000 soldiers and police were on hand yesterday to ensure the registration process was orderly. But aid agencies and human rights groups warned that a fair census was impossible while the camps remained under the control of pro-Indonesian militias.
“It’s ridiculous to think that those people who indicate they want to return won’t face persecution,” said Father Frank Brennan, of the Jesuit Relief Service, one of the few aid agencies still working in West Timor.

He criticised the lack of anonymity in the census, saying refugees who signed a form opting to return home would have their answer stapled to their family registration details.

The service did not object to the Indonesian Government wanting to know how many refugees were in West Timor, he said, but there should be measures to ensure the safety of those who wanted to return to East Timor.

A spokesman for the East Timorese human rights foundation Yayasan-Hak, Mr Joaquim Fonseca, said the presence of militiamen in West Timor during the census would intimidate the refugees. “Their presence in the camps would be terrifying. They have been trying to keep the refugees in the camps as one of their main political objectives.”

It was unclear how quickly Indonesian authorities would act to repatriate those who wanted to return, and this could increase their vulnerability, he said.

“If, after the census, those who want to come back are not provided with the means, they will be more vulnerable than ever and exposed to those who have power in the camps, the militias.”

His organisation had received reports of militia gangs demanding refugee support in the camps.

Yayasan-Hak was concerned about the lack of international observers in West Timor to monitor the registration process.

The United Nations Transitional Administration (UNTAET) in East Timor sent one observer to monitor the registration. It says it wants the refugees returned home so they can take part in elections on the August 30 for a constituent assembly. The deadline to register for the ballot is June 20.

A UNTAET spokeswoman said: “This is an important exercise, since it will establish once and for all how many people there are in West Timor and with some degree of accuracy how many want to return.”


Bahasa Indonesia:
Yayasan HAK - Yayasan Hukum, Hak Asasi dan Keadilan  Updated June 9
Maksud Umum: Yayasan Hak didirikan untuk maksud utama dua: 1. Kerja perkara - mewakili korban dan keluarganya di pengadilan. 2. Sokongan anjuran hak asasi manusia - melaporkan dan menerbitkan informasi mengenai HAM, proses pengadilan.
Sejarah Pendek: Yayasan Hak adalah yayasan bantuan hukum yang didirikan pada bulan Maret 1997, dan dibiayai oleh empat kelompok. Hak didirikan untuk menyediakan bermacam-macam pelayanan hukum kepada masyarakat Timor Lorosae.
Tetum: Jun 21 2000 Y-HAK: Lopes: Rekonciliasaun Housi Lei Nia Roman  Article http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/earlyhakt.htm
English: Jun 21 2000 Y-HAK: Lopes: Reconciliation from a Legal Perspective: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/earlyhak.htm

English:
Yayasan HAK - Foundation of Law, Human Rights, and Justice  Updated June 9
Human Rights, Advocacy and Community Organising
Yayasan HAK is a registered East Timorese non-government organization (ETNGO)
General Mission: Yayasan Hak has two primary functions: 1. Casework - representing victims and their families in court 2. Human rights advocacy work - monitoring, reporting and publicising human rights information, litigation
Short History: Yayasan Hak is a legal aid foundation set up in March 1997, co-funded by four funding agencies. It was established in order to provide a range of legal services for the people of East Timor.
English: Jun 21 2000 Y-HAK: Lopes: Reconciliation from a Legal Perspective: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/earlyhak.htm
Tetum: Jun 21 2000 Y-HAK: Lopes: Rekonciliasaun Housi Lei Nia Roman  Article http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/earlyhakt.htm

Spanish:
El Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados (JRS): Accompañar, Servir, Defender  Added Mar 24
El Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados es una organización católica internacional que trabaja en más de 40 países, con la misión de acompañar, servir y defender los derechos de los refugiados y desplazados forzosos. La misión confiada a JRS comprende a todos los que han sido apartados de sus hogares por los conflictos, los desastres humanitarios o las violaciones de los derechos humanos, de acuerdo con la enseñanza social católica que define como refugiado “de facto” a múltiples categorías de personas. La razón de ser de JRS está íntimamente liada a la misión de la Sociedad de Jesús (Jesuitas), a saber, el promocionar la justicia del Reino de Dios en diálogo con otras culturas y religiones.
International: CP 6139, 00195 Roma Prati, Italy. Tel: +39-06 689.77.391; Fax: +39-06 687.92.83; Email: international@jesref.org
Asia Pacific: Tel: +66 - 2 279 1817; Tel: +66 - 2 278 4182; Fax: +66 - 2 271 3632 Email: asia.pacific@jesref.org
Para pedir información sobre JRS, diríjase a la persona de contacto del Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados en su país de residencia. La oficina internacional de JRS también tiene un servicio de información. URL: http://www.jesref.org

English:
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS): To accompany, To serve, To advocate  Added Mar 24
The JRS is an international Catholic organisation, at work in over 40 countries, including East Timor and Indonesia, with a mission is to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. The mission given to JRS embraces all who are driven from their homes by conflict, humanitarian disaster or violation of human rights, following Catholic social teaching which applies the expression ‘de facto refugee’ to many related categories of people. The purpose of JRS is intimately connected with the mission of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), namely to promote the justice of God’s Kingdom, in dialogue with cultures and religions.
International: CP 6139, 00195 Roma Prati, Italy. Tel: +39-06 689.77.391; Fax: +39-06 687.92.83; Email: international@jesref.org
Asia Pacific: Tel: +66 - 2 279 1817; Tel: +66 - 2 278 4182; Fax: +66 - 2 271 3632 Email: asia.pacific@jesref.org
Contact JRS contact person in the country where you live. The JRS International office also provides an information service. Homepage: http://www.jesref.org  Timor alerts: http://www.jesref.org/inf/alert/tplatest.htm


See also:

BD: 'Refugees' & Missing Persons - A collection of recent information, reports, articles and news

BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news


BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home    June news
Website: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood  Email: wildwood@pcug.org.au
Postal address: BACK DOOR GPO Box 59 Canberra City ACT 2601 Australia
Receive FREE weekly email Web-updates: email wildwood@pcug.org.au and include the words "Subscribe BACK DOOR" in the message header. more info