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Timor: UNHCR reiterates separation request

Briefing notes

Timor: UNHCR reiterates separation request

11 April 2000

UNHCR met on Monday in Kupang with the Indonesian commander in West Timor, Gen. Kiki Shynakri, and reiterated UNHCR's request for the separation of East Timorese enlisted in the Indonesian Army, or TNI, police and former militia members from refugees.

The general said he would begin to move East Timorese TNIs now at the Noelbaki refugee camp outside Kupang to nearby Naimbonat, an Indonesian army facility which also hosts East Timorese TNIs and their families.

There are 2,686 East Timorese TNIs scattered in refugee settlements in West Timor. It was unclear what measures would be taken with respect to the other settlements sheltering TNIs, or ex-militias.

UNHCR has been urging Indonesian officials to separate pro-Indonesian elements controlling the camps to allow the voluntary repatriation of more than 100,000 refugees in West Timor. Separation has become crucial after it was decided that UNHCR will begin late this month or early May the direct distribution in the refugee settlements of food rations from the government, the World Food Programme and other aid agencies.