|Subject: UN To Repatriate 400 Refugees From
Indonesia's W Timor
Associated Press February 23, 2001
UN To Repatriate 400 Refugees From Indonesia's W Timor
DILI, East Timor (AP)--The United Nations announced Friday it will resume repatriation of East Timorese refugees from camps in Indonesian-held West Timor.
Representatives from U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration will travel to West Timor's capital of Kupang next week to bring back 421 refugees who have asked to return to East Timor. The refugees will arrive in Dili Saturday on a ship chartered by the world body.
According to officials, this repatriation will come after a series of confidence-building measures, including visits by East Timorese refugees still in camps in West Timor.
"We are now seeing a change in attitudes following a number of look-and-see visits," said Bernard Kerblat, UNHCR's head of operations in East Timor's capital of Dili.
Following a U.N. sponsored vote on independence in East Timor, violence by pro-Indonesia militia gangs forced more than 250,000 refugees to flee over the border to West Timor. About 100,000 still remain in camps there.
UNHCR suspended its operations in West Timor last September following the murder of three of its staffers by paramilitaries in the border town of Atambua.
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