Subject: AN: ET Asylum Seekers Advised not to Burden RI



October 27, 2003 4:05am Antara

Kupang, Oct 25 (ANTARA) - East Timorese citizens who feel insecure or intimidated in their home country have been advised to seek political asylum in the United States or Australia so they don't need to burden Indonesia.

"The resettlement of East Timorese refugees during the past four years is still being hampered by various obstacles. Unless the flow of asylum seekers is prevented, the Indonesian government will have another headache," said Carlos Fatima SH, wice chairman of the Timor Aswain Union (UNTAS) for Human Rights and Legal Aid, here on Saturday.

A group of 26 East Timorese sneaked into Nusatenggara (West Timor) to seek asylum in Belu district citing as reason they had been intiminated by people belonging to the former pro-independence group who still held a grudge against them (asylum seekers) in addition to economic pressures.

The 26 asylum seekers are now staying at the Belu police precinct pending further processing of their case by the two governments.

According to Carlos, it was much better for the Indonesian government to act as mediator which facilitates the intention of East Timorese nationals who are in need of protection.

"Please don't make Indonesia a place to seek asylum. The past issue of ex-East Timorese refugees have not yet been settled," he said.

He also called on the East Timorese government to provide their citizens with more freedom in determining their choice for life in line with international law.

"Just because of prestige, the rights of an individual should not be sacrificed," he said.


In the meantime, the military and police chiefs of Belu district are now making an effort to persuade East Timorese President Xanana to meet 26 East Timorese citizens who have sought asylum in the district.

"We have coordinated with the military about an effort to ask President Xanana, if at all possible, to see his fellow countrymen here," said Belu district police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Agus Nugroho.

The 26 East Timoreses, consisting of 15 men and 11 women, asked for asylum in Belu district on Oct 14, claiming they had been intimidated by ex-pro independent militants.

Nugroho said, if Xanana met the asylum-seekers, he could personally give them a security guarantee for them to return to their homes in East Timor.



October 27, 2003 4:04am Antara

Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, Oct 24 (ANTARA) - The East Timorese government is striving to persuade around 26 residents of Railuli, Bobonaro district, who had sought asylum in Belu district in the Indonesian half of Timor island, to return home.

"When inspecting the conditions of around 26 East Timorese asylum seekers, a delegation of that country persuaded them to immediately return home, but the call was turned down," Belu district police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Agus Nugroho SH said here on Friday.

A 15-member delegation, coordinated by East Timor's State Secretary Arsenion Paicano Bano, was accompanied by secretary of President Xanana Gusmao, Valenciano.

East Timorese National Police Deputy Chief Calos and a number of presidential staff and personnel of presidential security troops were members of the delegation.

According to Nugroho, the delegation came to Atambua in the framework of surveying the condition of security in the area to be passed by President Xanana Gusmao who planned to visit Oecusse district by crossing the Belu and Timor Tengah Utara (TTU) districts.

President Xanana has been scheduled to cross border area of Mota'ain on Monday and then proceeds his trip to Oecusse enclave which will have to pass through the city of Atambua in Belu district and Kefamenanu in TTU district.

His visit to Oecusse district is in the framework of attending a reconciliation meeting of East Timorese people to be held on Tuesday (Oct 28).

"In addition to observing the security condition of the areas to be passed by President Xanana entourage, the delegation also spared the time to see and pursuade the 26 asymlum seekers to immediately return home," Nugroho said.

The persuasion was blatantly rejected, even the delegation had said that the government and relevant agency in East Timor would provide them with security guarantee.

The 26 asylum seekers tended to stay in Belu district more rather than return to their home village in Bobonaro district of East Timor on the account of slim tranquility and peace in life there.

"Seemingly, they still need more time to decide when to return to their home village," Nugroho said.

The asylum seekers consisted of 15 men and 11 women sneaked into Belu district through secret tiny path last Wednesday (Oct 14).

They arrived in Salore border area and reported their presence to the security personnel of the 516 army infantry battalion unit who were on guard at Salore post, thus asking for asylum in Belu at about 14:30 of local time.

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