|Subject: RT: Five percent of East Timorese refugees
- aid worker
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:40:46 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Five percent of East Timorese refugees-aid worker
DILI, East Timor, May 26 (Reuters) - Some five percent of East Timorese have been displaced in the run up to an August vote on autonomy and most are beyond the reach of international aid agencies, an aid worker said on Wednesday.
The aid worker, who did not want to be identified, estimated that at least 54,000 people had been pushed out of their homes, and the majority of then had been driven into camps in areas run by militias that support remaining part of Indonesia.
``The militias are very brutal, killing, torturing -- they take all the facilities out of the house and burn the house.''
He said some 36,000 refugees in camps in the western half of the territory were totally reliant on the militias for food.
``If you are not for autonomy, you won't get your share, or you will be forced to sign a paper (in support of autonomy),'' he said.
``We can't get assistance to them because of the security situation.''
The United Nations is organising a vote on August 8, when the East Timorese will be asked if they want to remain part of Indonesia with greater autonomy. If autonomy is rejected, the former Portugese colony is expected to be given independence.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 after the Portugese pulled out, and unilaterally annexed it the following year -- a move still not recognised by the United Nations.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said recently that the Indonesian authorities had failed to rein in the armed militias in East Timor.
``Despite repeated assurances that measures would be taken by the Indonesian authorities to ensure security in East Timor and curtail the illegal activities of the armed militias, I regret to inform the Security Council that credible reports continue to be received of political violence, including intimidation and killings, by armed militias against unarmed pro-independence civilians,'' Annan said.