SRSG, Sergio Vieira de Mello met yesterday with Indonesia Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab, in Jakarta, where he arrived after visiting West Timor on Monday and Tuesday.
Today SRSG met other Foreign Ministry officials, the speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Akbar Tanjung, the Head of the Foreign Affairs Commission and other senior members of Parliament.
Sergio Vieira de Mello made an open invitation to those officials to visit East Timor. He also called on them to support the process of normalization between East Timor and Indonesia.
Tomorrow the Transitional Administrator is going to Geneva on his way to New York.
Two Australian forensic experts from the New South Wales Institute of Forensic Medicine went to the Passabe border area in Oecussi (the enclave in West Timor) yesterday afternoon (25 January).
CIVPOL and INTERFET investigators, representatives of Human Rights NGO s also went to Passabe where an exhumation is expected to begin in one or two days.
Between 50 and 60 bodies are believed to be buried in Passabe. These people were killed in September 9. There are not details about how they died. But this case may be the most massive killing in the September's violence.
The work is particularly difficult because of the rainy season. Exhumations are not advised during this period. If it begins to rain during an excavation, the grave may be filled up with water and instead of gaining evidence; there is the risk of loosing evidence.
Indonesian Human Rights Commission
Two members of the KPP Ham - The Indonesian Commission on inquiry into Human Rights violations in East Timor - left Dili this afternoon. The purpose of their visit was to check some of the information that they gathered in their two previous trips to East Timor.
This morning they met with Bishop Belo. During their two-day visit they also spoke with INTERFET Commander, General Cosgrove, and with witnesses of alleged cases of human rights violations.
The KPP Ham was established on September to gather information on abuses that occurred in East Timor from January to October 1999 and, if warranted, to use that information as the basis for filing indictments with a Human Rights Tribunal that would be set up in Indonesia.
The KPP Ham has to give its report to Kommas HAM - the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission - by the end of this month.
In responding to a question, the Spokesman clarified that the Indonesian Human Rights Commission investigation is completely separate from the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in East Timor.
Border Control Unit
The New Timorese Border Control Service, which will include immigration and customs service, will be inaugurated on Friday in a ceremony to be held at Comoro airport in Dili. The first five international customs experts arrived yesterday from New Zealand to Dili to serve on the new service and to train future Timorese customs and immigration officers.
The Border Control Service will take over the customs and immigration checks of the airport from UNTAET CIVPOL on Saturday and the Dili Port a week later, on 5th of January. It is expected that by the end of the next month Border Control Service will establish two control points at the border between East and West Timor and one point at the border of Oecussi enclave.
There are currently 14 Timorese officers recruited by the Border Control Service and it is expected that more than a hundred of them will be employed by the end of next month. There are currently 115 applications lodged with UNTAET by Timorese who were formerly employed as immigration and customs officers during the Indonesian rule.
United States, Australia and Portugal also pledged to send experts for the Border Control Service.
The total number of voluntary returns
to East Timor to date is 132.414.
On Monday and Tuesday nights the first overland return convoys with refugees from Oecussi arrived in Dili. 240 East Timorese returned back to Dili by land in two convoys organized by UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees - and IOM - International Organization for Migration.
UNHCR also informed that the mass information campaign in the refugee camps in West Timor continues. Last week, as part as the campaign, foreign journalists and film crews visited various returnee areas. The footage of Manatuto, Baucau, Viqueque and Aileu will be shown to refugges in West Timor camps. UNHCR said that the campaign has had an impressive effect in West Timor. For instance, in some cases, friends and relatives rumoured to have been killed during the conflict have been found alive and well.