Subject: RI to Ease Visa Limits for East Timor Students, Give Civil Servants Pensions

The Jakarta Globe

July 15, 2009

Government to Ease Visa Limits for East Timor Students, Give Civil Servants Pensions

by Putri Prameshwari

Indonesia plans to ease immigration rules for East Timorese students who want to remain in the country, a Justice and Human Rights Ministry official said on Tuesday.

As recommended by the now-disbanded Commission for Truth and Friendship, Indonesia would ease regulations for East Timorese students wanting to obtain visas, said Hafid Abbas, head of the research and development division at the ministry.

They have been dealing with a complicated bureaucracy," he said. "We want to simplify the process of getting a permit to stay, especially for refugees who still find it difficult to even get an identity card."

Hafid said there were more than 5,000 East Timorese students in Indonesia, with most studying at universities in Yogyakarta.

He said that under the proposed agreement East Timorese students would only be required to provide any document that proves they are a student. Thereafter, the local immigration office would coordinate with the Ministry of National Education to process the students' visas.

The new visas would also be extended from one year to two.

The new regulations are part of an agreement between Jakarta and Dili, the East Timor capital, that resulted from the Commission for Truth and Friendship's recommendations.

The agreement is expected to be endorsed during a meeting of representatives of the two governments in Dili on Sunday.

Hafid said the Indonesian government is also considering a visa-on-arrival policy for East Timorese. However, he said there were several points to discuss beforehand, including security issues, reciprocity and the benefits for both countries.

So far, we are thinking of giving visas on arrival only at several approved entry points," he said, adding that those entry points would be discussed at the meeting in Dili.

In addition to immigration matters, Indonesia is also prepared to pay pensions to more than 15,000 former civil servants, including military and police officers, who chose to become citizens of East Timor after independence.

Riskintono Rachman, operational director at state-owned PT Taspen, said the company would pay the pensions gradually, and would spend up to Rp 40 billion ($3.91 million) doing so.

On July 19, we will pay Rp 11.1 billion to 7,511 former civil servants," he said.

The Commission for Truth and Friendship was formed in 2004 to determine the facts of the violence and other events that occurred during and after East Timor's 1999 referendum on independence. The agreement to be endorsed was largely taken from its recommendations.

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RI and Timor Leste implement some recommendations

Erwida Maulia , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Tue, 07/14/2009 10:34 PM | National

The Indonesian government will extend an East Timorese student's staying permit and return retirement funds belonging to former Indonesian civil servants that are now East Timorese citizens.

The recent moves are just some of the end results of recommendations made in the final report of the Indonesia-Timor Leste Commission on Truth and Friendship (CTF), which was delivered in Bali in July 2008. The Indonesian and East Timorese governments have been working on following-up the recommendations.

"The final report includes a joint statement from the two countries' leaders; so it has become somewhat of a bilateral agreement that needs to be implemented. That is why the Indonesian and Timor Leste governments are drafting the plans of action," Wiwiek S. Firman, director for human rights and humanity at the Indonesia Foreign Affairs Ministry, told a media briefing Tuesday.

Other priority actions, Wiwiek said, include the simplification of the application process for ID cards for children of ex-East Timorese refugees and a family reunification program that will reunite children separated from their East Timorese parents after the 1999 referendum, which led to the formation of the sovereign state of Timor Leste.

Partnerships in culture and tourism, as well as a number of joint education and training programs are also part of the action plan, which will be launched by the Indonesian government in Dili on July 19.


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