Indonesia + 1 more

Timor Activity Update: 07 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.

* Returns by land

Today, IOM assisted 313 people back to East Timor. In the Atambua region, IOM and UNHCR teams managed to "extract" 192 refugees from Haliwen, Lewat Karantina and Weraihenek, three camps where militia presence remains very much in evidence. Intimidation in these camps continues unabated. Today in Haliwan, a hostile crowd gathered around IOM trucks, preventing refugees from being repatriated. Further to the south in Haekesak, a second convoy was organized for 98 refugees from the Samat and Nurobo camps. A third IOM convoy was organized from Betun to Suai with only 23 people. In this region, numbers seem to be affected by the presence at the border in West Timor of CNRT members

* Returns by sea

An IOM ferry arrived in Dili from Kupang with 328 returnees on board. But returns from militia-controlled camps in the Kupang area remain low. IOM and UNHCR report that sanitary conditions in these camps have become appalling with the onset of the rainy season.

* As of 7 December, IOM has organized the return by land, sea and air of 63,335 East Timorese from West Timor, from Indonesia and from Australia. So far, close to 115,000 people have returned in an organized or in a spontaneous way to East Timor.

* Total returns by land

To date, IOM has returned 23,479 East Timorese by land from West Timor.

* Total returns by sea.

To date, IOM has returned 28,490 East Timorese by sea from West Timor and from other parts of Indonesia

* Total returns by air

To date, IOM has returned 6,937 East Timorese from Kupang to Dili and 3,672 from other parts of Indonesia.

A total of 757 East Timorese have so far been returned by IOM from Darwin to Dili.

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