Subject: AFP: ICG Urges East Timor To Tackle Refugee Problem

ICG Urges East Timor To Tackle Refugee Problem -AFP

DILI, East Timor (AFP)--East Timor and its foreign supporters must do more to resettle around 100,000 citizens still homeless after unrest in 2006, the International Crisis Group said Monday.

A weak economy, a lack of security and a shortage of housing have left the tiny Asian country unable to shake the problem of internally displaced persons, the think tank said in a report.

"Successive governments and their international partners have failed to bring about the conditions in which they might return home or to prevent further waves of displacements," the report said.

While the death of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado in a February attack on President Jose Ramos-Horta had led to a sense of greater calm, unrest could reemerge if the root causes of the violence weren't addressed, the ICG warned.

"The government needs to address fundamental drivers of conflict, such as communal tensions, problems within the security forces and (a) lack of economic opportunities - before the next Reinado appears," it said.

The report recommended East Timor assuage the concerns of its displaced by prosecuting those responsible for the violence in 2006, and by ensuring housing and livelihood outside the camps.

Many of them were choosing to stay in the camps because of a housing shortage and unclear land laws outside, as well as a program providing free food inside the camps, the ICG said.

International forces have been stationed in East Timor since 2006, after a mass desertion by members of the armed forces prompted fighting between military and police factions and street violence that killed at least 37.

Reinado and one other rebel were killed and Ramos-Horta was wounded during a clash at the president's residence on Feb. 11.

Reputed Reinado right-hand man Gastao Salsinha is still at large with a number of other rebels.


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