Subject: Timor Refugees rally for cash aid in S. Sulawesi

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:16 PM

Refugees rally for cash aid

Andi Hajramurni , The Jakarta Post , Makassar | Wed, 06/10/2009 6:50 PM | National

Around 50 people representing over 3,000 migrants who were displaced following the East Timor debacle in 1999 staged a rally outside the South Sulawesi governor's office building Wednesday to demand disbursement of cash aid.

Muhammad Samir, one of the refugees, said at least 141 families did not receive financial assistance worth Rp 5 million (US$500) each. The Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Office extended the financial assistance through the state postal company in May.

"We believe the number of families eligible for the aid is far higher as we listed only those living in six districts," he said.

The government data revealed that at least 3,709 families fled East Timor 10 years ago for South Sulawesi to evade the rampaging violence. A local non-governmental organization the National Committee for Political Refugees (Kokpit) conducted registration of the needy families.

Samir said he suspected the NGO of committing fraud by registering only families that paid grease money.

"The NGO argued the money was for arranging registration-related matters," he said.

Head of the provincial environment control agency, Maskur Sultan, who received the protesters, said the matter would be reported to the central government.

He called on the people to file a report with the police against the NGO.

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