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Timor Activity Update: 17 Mar 2000

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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 - To date, IOM has provided land, sea and air return assistance to a total of 99,442 people from East Timorese. The total number of organized and spontaneous returns to East Timor from West Timor, other parts of Indonesia, Macau and Australia now stands at 152,551 persons.

On 17 March, a total of 243 people returned from Atambua to Batugade on IOM-chartered trucks. In West Timor, the IOM-operated ship, the "Patricia Anne Hotung" sailed from Kupang for Dili with 348 passengers on board.

On 16 March, IOM provided secondary transportation to 296 returnees from Dili to Los Palos.

On 15 March, a total of 457 persons arrived from Kupang at Dili harbour aboard the IOM-operated ship, the "Patricia Anne Hotung." Some 138 persons returned on IOM-chartered trucks from Atambua to Batugade. Secondary movements were provided to 369 persons to Aileu and five persons to Atsabe.

On 14 March, a total of 400 persons crossed the border at Salele into Suai on IOM-chartered trucks and 73 persons crossed the border at Batugade from Atambua. Secondary movements were provided by IOM from Dili to Same (8), Ermera (11), Maubisse (13), Manatuto (127) and Oecusse (five by air).

Capacity Building - 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

Funding - 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.

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