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Timor: UNHCR resumes activities in West Timor

Briefing notes

Timor: UNHCR resumes activities in West Timor

29 August 2000

UNHCR today decided to resume its activities in West Timor for East Timorese refugees, which were suspended after three UNHCR staff members were severely beaten on Wednesday. UNHCR is satisfied with the way the Indonesian authorities have dealt with this regrettable incident. Measures taken by the Indonesian government include a thorough investigation into the incident and the arrests of two of the alleged assailants who will be charged in court. The government also has issued a strong condemnation of the acts of violence against humanitarian workers while practical steps have been taken on the ground to increase the presence of security forces in and around the camps. These developments are encouraging. However, UNHCR believes that a just and lasting solution to the refugee problem in West Timor will depend on benchmarks UNHCR outlined to Indonesian officials last month: the separation of troublemakers from refugees, the imposition of law and order in the camps and the clarification of the status of East Timorese employed by the Indonesian government. UNHCR has stressed concrete steps must taken by the Indonesian government to comply with these benchmarks, which will be reviewed in October.