Indonesia + 1 more

Timor Activity Update: 01 Dec 1999

There is an urgent need to return East Timorese displaced from West Timor and elsewhere in Indonesia to their communities of origin in order for rehabilitation, reconstruction and development to begin as quickly as possible. The safe and orderly return transportation of displaced persons is the responsibility of IOM by agreement and in close cooperation with UNHCR.

Despite efforts to increase the pace of returns, overall numbers remain low. Today, IOM returned 807 people by land, sea and air.

By land

IOM and UNHCR have opened a new repatriation corridor along the West Timor border in an effort to increase the effectiveness of the return operation. A group of 93 East Timorese were transported from Haikesak across the border to Maliana, Balibo and Batugade. Over the last two weeks, spontaneous returns have taken place in this area and it is believed several thousand people around Haikesak are in need of return assistance. There were no returns today from Halilulik/Laktutus, south of Atambua, to Fato Mean, in East Timor.

Further to the north, 268 East Timorese was transported from camps in the region of Atambua to Batugade. In the south, 179 were returned from Betun to the Wala processing centre, then onwards to Suai

By sea and air

A total of 192 east Timorese were repatriated by sea and 75 by air from Kupang to Dili As of 1 December, IOM has organized the return by land, sea and air of 59,605 East Timorese from West Timor, from Indonesia and from Australia. So far, close to 110,000 people have returned in an organized or in a spontaneous way to East Timor.

Total returns by land

To date, IOM has returned 21,183 East Timorese by land from West Timor.

Total returns by sea

To date, IOM has returned 27,615 East Timorese by sea from West Timor and from other parts of Indonesia

Total returns by air

To date, IOM has returned 6,793 East Timorese from Kupang to Dili and 3,672 from other parts of Indonesia. A total of 342 East Timorese have so far been returned by IOM from Darwin to Dili. They are part of a larger group of approximately 1,500 persons who had been evacuated from the UNAMET compound in Dili in September 1999.


IOM has made an appeal to the international community for US$ 25,565,000 for its Timor activities. This includes US$ 23,250,000 for the return of displaced people to East Timor. IOM urgently needs an estimated US$12,250,000 to cover the cost of operations until the end of this year. So far, US$ 4,317,249 has been pledged. IOM currently faces a shortfall of US$ 7,932,751.

IOM's mid- to long-term plans are to implement programmes in the areas of return of qualified nationals, migration management capacity building, mobile information and referral services to strengthen the rehabilitation and recovery of Timor as well as, in cooperation with UN agencies, community rehabilitation.