Subject: AN: E Timor refugee registration in March


Kupang, Feb 7 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government will conduct a repeat registration of East Timor refugees remaining in East Nusatenggara (West Timor) next March, a local official said.

Registration activities in Kupang and Belu districts would serve as pilot projects, head of the provincial National Development Planning Board Esthon Foenay said here Wednesday.

Representatives of the central government, the East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration, UNHCR, UNTAET, and UNDP held a series of talks to discuss the issue in Denpasar recently.

Esthon said the meeting agreed that the local government would establish a working committee involving members of the local community.

The government would also recruit some 1,600 volunteers to assist in the registration process.

Before conducting the registration, the government would initiate familiarization activities among the refugees, including briefings on their rights and obligations.

"The approach once used by UNHCR did not work. Thus we will implement a new approach," he said.

He pointed out, however, the Indonesian government would not able to conduct the registration without the participation of the international organizations.

"UNTAET and UNHCR must convince the UN Security Council that security conditions in West Timor have returned to normal so that the international bodies can resume their activities here. If they don't come to West Timor, the registration results might not have legitimacy in the eyes of the international community," he said.

More than 100,000 East Timorese displaced people are still staying in East Nusa Tenggara province which borders on East Timor.

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