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Timor: Indonesian government must control militias

Briefing notes

Timor: Indonesian government must control militias

7 February 2000

UNHCR has called on Indonesian authorities to take immediate measures to stop an upsurge in violence committed against refugees and aid workers in West Timor. At least four security incidents were reported in camps outside the West Timor capital of Kupang last week. This includes attacks against journalists and the disruption of repatriation operations. UNHCR is particularly concerned about the fate of two refugees who were yanked out of repatriation buses at Tuapukan camp last week. There are also threats of growing intimidation against aid workers along the border areas of West Timor. Workers are not being allowed inside the camps or are getting veiled threats. Of particular concern is Tuapukan, the biggest camp in West Timor, hosting an estimated 20,000 of the reported 110,000 refugees in the province. UNHCR has urged Indonesian officials to separate militias from refugees - a longstanding request - as well as the redeployment of active military living among the refugee population. UNHCR also has called on the Indonesians to maintain law and order in the camps. Contacts are being made at the highest levels in Jakarta in a bid to get government cooperation.