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 renewed efforts to increase the pace and effectiveness of the return operation, numbers are falling. Today, IOM returned by road 167 people from Atambua to Batugade and 104 from Betun to Suai. In Oecussi, 136 people were returned to the enclave on board two IOM convoys.
In West Timor, IOM reports that it is increasingly difficult to locate and reach pockets of refugees in mountainous areas because of the onset of the rainy season. In camps, such as Haliwan near Atambua, militia intimidation still goes on, albeit in a more subtle way. Rumours, misinformation, negative information campaigns in West Timor are effectively discouraging people from returning to East Timor.
As of 2 December, IOM has organized the return by land, sea and air of 60,012 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 21,590 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.
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$
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.
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