Subject: AFP: Indonesia's ET refugee re-registration set for June

Agence France Presse May 6, 2001, Sunday

Indonesia's East Timor refugee re-registration set for June


Indonesian authorities will conduct a one-day re-registration of East Timorese refugees in West Timor on June 6, a report said here Sunday.

Deputy for Foreign Political Affairs at the coordinating ministry of political, social and security affairs, Amin Rianom said that the coordinating minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will announce the move in Jakarta on May 21, the Antara news agency reported.

Speaking in Kupang, the main city in West Timor, Rianom said that the governor ot East Nusa Tenggara province which includes West Timor, would make a similar announcement from Kupang on May 27.

The refugees are the remnants of an estimated 250,000 who were forced across the border by pro-Jakarta militias during an orgy of violence and destruction wreaked in the wake of East Timor's vote for independence on August 30 in 1999.

Officials have said that the registration was important to determine the precise number of refugees who wanted to return home to East Timor and how many wished to remain in Indonesia.

Rianom said a team from Jakarta will arrive in Kupang next week to join a provincial team to promote the registration program among the refugees.

They would be briefed on what facilities they would get if they chose to be repatriated or remain in Indonesia, he said.

Although the registration would only be held for one day, in special cases, the registration could still be accepted for another two days, he said without giving further details, including on what constituted the special cases.

The authorities in West Timor, which oversees the squalid camps holding the refugees, said last month that around 119,000 refugees still live in the West Timor camps while up to 170,000 others have been repatriated since October 1999.

But the United Nations and other foreign agencies estimated the number of refugees still in West Timor at between 50,000 and 100,000.

They are eager to repatriate the refugees ahead of a June 20 deadline to register for East Timor elections, slated for August 30.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has recently complained of intimidation by former pro-Indonesian militias against refugees wishing to return to East Timor.

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