BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      homeJune news

"There are still tens of thousands of East Timorese who fled across the border to West Timor in September 1999 and who are still waiting in the camps until they think it safe to return to East Timor. Those of greatest concern to the NGO Forum are those who fled from violence and crossed the border by force or in confusion. ... it is an injustice that these persons are being denied the right to participate in the East Timor election of 30 August 2001" Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e / The East Timor National NGO Forum

Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e
The East Timor National NGO Forum
 

Kaikoli Street,  Dili-East Timor  telephone 322772/  etngocentre@hotmail.com


REFUGEES

BRIEFING PAPER TO DONORS MEETING
CANBERRA June 2001
 

There are still tens of thousands of East Timorese who fled across the border to West Timor in September 1999 and who are still waiting in the camps until they think it safe to return to East Timor. Those of greatest concern to the NGO Forum are those who fled from violence and crossed the border by force or in confusion. They are not militia. They are not in receipt of Indonesian Government pensions or salaries. They have been without significant international assistance since the killing of the 3 UNHCR workers in September 2000. They feel trapped in the camps, either because they are uncertain about the situation back home or because they are dominated by militia or camp leaders.

Recently, the refugees went through a GOI rapid registration process on 6 and 7 June 2001. The NGO community has repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of those seeking to return, so that militia cannot instigate further intimidation and reprisals. In addition, the registration process only required heads of families to indicate whether they want to stay in West Timor or return to East Timor. This leaves many family members without the freedom to choose for themselves.

On 28 May 2001, UNTAET agreed to participate in the socialisation phase of the June 6 registration. If UNTAET is acting in the best interests of the refugees, it should have assessed the legitimacy and security of the process before deciding to participate.

Similarly, the GOI and UNHCR should be accountable to the international community for funding and implementing the registration process. The continued provision of donor funds to the GOI for the resettlement program should be contingent on maintaining the confidentiality of the process.

- A comprehensive and independent evaluation of the recent June 6 registration process must be undertaken before the results are accepted by the international community. In particular, close attention should be paid to the issues of confidentiality and registration of heads of families only. The evaluation should include broad representation from NGOs and church organs.

- In addition, it is an injustice that these persons are being denied the right to participate in the East Timor election of 30 August 2001, unless they meet the unreal condition of returning by the 20 June 2001 - the deadline for the civil registration process. This is exacerbated by the fact that there is no current plan to resettle or repatriate the refugees after result of the registration process. The refugees in West Timor must be given the opportunity to vote in the August 30 elections.

- While still in the camps, the refugees need ongoing assistance with supplementary feeding and emergency medical care.


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


East Timor National NGO Forum / Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e  Updated June 14
Umbrella agency for East Timorese Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)
VISION: To contribute to the building of a pluralist, democratic, just and sustainable East Timor through the development of a strong, independent and responsible civil society committed to upholding and making real in the daily life of the community, both village and urban, the full range of human rights so that all East Timorese, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, can enjoy the fruits of liberation and development in an East Timor forever free.
MISSION: To realise its vision by promoting a culture of learning, cooperation, partnership with the community and respect for human rights and good practice amongst East Timorese NGOs and between them and other development actors, both domestic and international, and by serving as a collective, independent voice for the rights and needs of the community.
VALUES AND PRINCIPLES: a rights approach to development; inclusiveness, participation; accountability; gender balance; respect for the environment; non-party political; non-sectarian; good governance; volunteerism.
Kaikoli Street, Dili-East Timor  Telephone +670(390)322772
E-mail: etngocentre@hotmail.com  Homepage: http://www.geocities.com/etngoforum/index.html
Jun 7 ETNGO Forum: Donors Meeting must be for Rural People: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01junrural.htm
Jun 13 ETNGO Forum: The voice of Civil Society calls the Donors: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01jundonors.htm


BD: East Timor National NGO Forum / Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e - A collection of recent media releases, position-statements, speeches, petitions, reports, and news


BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      homeJune news
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