There is a continuing need to return displaced
people in West Timor to their communities of origin in East Timor, in order
for rehabilitation, reconstruction and development to begin. The safe and
orderly return transportation of displaced people is the responsibility
of IOM by agreement and in close co-operation with UNHCR
Summary of Returns
On 14 March, IOM provided overland return assistance to some 400 returnees from Betun to Suai. Following the successful IOM/UN organized family reunion meeting at Batugade on 12 March, where 2,108 persons from West Timor and 1,650 persons from East Timor met in a neutral zone, a total of 811 persons returned on 13 and 14 March from Atambua to Batugade on IOM-chartered trucks.
On 14 March, IOM provided secondary transportation to 127 people from Dili to Manatutu. Another 37 people were returned to Sane, Amera, Maubisse and Oecussi.
On 13 March, IOM provided secondary transportation to 88 persons travelling from Dili to Los Palos and for five persons travelling to Railako.
On 11 March, IOM provided secondary transportation from Dili for 185 persons to Baucau, 17 persons to Suai, 17 for Manatuto and six persons to Maliana.
To date IOM has provided transport assistance to 98,246 East Timorese. The total number of organized and spontaneous returns from West Timor, other parts of Indonesia, Macau and Australia now stands at 151,483 persons.
East Meets West Family Reunions
Due to the success of the 9th of March reunion, IOM has decided to expand these meetings to three other border locations. The family reunions are now taking place four times a week. The reunion days and times are scheduled as follows:
- Every Saturday at the Atambua-Batugade border area
- Every Monday at the Betun-Suai border area
- Every Tuesday and Thursday at the Kefa-Ambeno border area
Following the discovery last week of grenades, guns and drugs on board the Patricia Anne Hotung, new security checks have been put in place in Kupang by the Indonesian military (TNI) to ensure all passengers and luggage are thoroughly checked. IOM is providing TNI with metal detectors. Sailing from Kupang to Dili resumed today. The Patricia Anne Hotung will arrive in Dili on 15 March with some 480 passengers on board.
Under the recently established IOM Return of Qualified Nationals Programme (RQN), a total of 300 East Timorese Nationals will be assisted over the next three years with employment and return to East Timor from abroad. The aim is to fill positions in the public and private sectors, which cannot be filled with local human resources. IOM is currently liaising in East Timor with local employers including CISPE (Civil Services and Public Employment) to identify job vacancies. Through its network of offices in Australia, Hong Kong (covering Macau), Portugal and Indonesia IOM is working with East Timorese organizations abroad, distributing information details on the assistance the programme will provide. Candidates, who can be matched with available job offers, following approval for placement under the programme, will be assisted to return with their families. Upon return of the candidate, employers will be provided with a salary subsidy and job-related equipment materials. So far, one candidate has returned under the programme from Australia and has been placed as the operations coordinator for Timor Aid. An additional 14 job offers have been received by IOM from CISPE. These job offers have been sent to IOM offices abroad and are also published on IOM's website http://www.iom.int/easttimor/entry.htm
IOM has received support from the international community to fund its Timor activities. Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and ECHO financed IOM's return movements to East Timor totalling US$ 14,210,988. Now that the emergency phase is winding down, efforts are concentrated on post-conflict rehabilitation through a range of interrelated projects such as the return of qualified nationals, reintegration of demobilized combatants, mobile information and referral services, community based rehabilitation and migration management capacity building. These activities form an integral part of the international humanitarian communities' response to the crisis.