IOM Press Briefing Notes: West Timor [+CRS Indonesia update]
Jul 26, 2001 07:37 PDT
also: CRS Indonesia Emergency Updated Jul 2001
International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
24 Jul 2001
IOM Press Briefing Notes 24 Jul 2001: West Timor
By Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM Spokesperson
West Timor - Repatriation
The Patricia Anne Hotung, the ship operated by IOM and owned by the Hotung
Institute, sailed from Kupang to Dili for the last time today with 179
refugees on board.
The ship, which has returned some 10,000 refugees from the West Timor camps
to East Timor since January 2000, is to be redeployed by the owner, Hong Kong
philanthropist Eric Hotung.
IOM Director General Brunson McKinley described the ship's role as
"invaluable" and "a remarkable contribution to the international humanitarian
effort to bring East Timorese refugees home to begin rebuilding their
The final sailing of the Patricia Anne was to have attracted some 459
returnees, but numbers fell when former low level TNI soldiers and their
families decided not to travel until promised lump sum pension payments were
paid by the Indonesian authorities.
Since 6 July, SATGAS, the Indonesian refugee taskforce and IOM have returned
some 1,500 refugees, mainly across the Motaain land border near Atambua.
In addition to continuing to fund SATGAS' rental of private trucks to move
returnees across the border, IOM is now also reimbursing refugees who travel
independently by bus between Kupang and Atambua to join cross-border convoys.
Ongoing confusion over the number of people wanting to return, despite the
June West Timor camp registration, means that IOM will continue to support
returns by land, but will not replace the Patricia Anne Hotung with another
ship in the immediate future.
In the event of large numbers of refugees deciding to return from the Kupang
camps, other ships have been identified and could be chartered at short
IOM has helped about 136,000 East Timorese to return home since October 1999.
Some 40,000 of them travelled by sea, another 77,000 by land and 19,000 by
Catholic Relief Services
24 Jul 2001
CRS Indonesia Emergency Updated Jul 2001
Working for Peace
Catholic Relief Services works with local organizations to promote peace
throughout this diverse country. Recently in West Kalimantan (on Borneo
Island), an attempted robbery resulting in the death of a young boy touched
off more violence between local residents and Madurese in the city of
Pontianak, West Kalimantan. Over 60,000 Madurese have been living in public
buildings in Pontianak after being forced from their homes when severe
fighting broke out between the two groups two years ago. Following this most
recent incident, the local residents burned temporary homes and kiosks
belonging to 344 Madurese families. Roads leading to the buildings housing
the Madurese have been blocked by locals making it virtually impossible for
them to receive any food. Local authorities are planning to evacuate and
relocate as many Madurese as possible in an effort to avoid greater violence.
Preventing Further Violence
Catholic Relief Services met with other humanitarian organizations, as well
as local authorities, and is willing to commit to long-term work such as
agricultural, health and peace building projects if the relocation efforts
are successful. In May, CRS visited Central Kalimantan to distribute posters,
stickers and t-shirts as part of a peace and tolerance campaign, and to meet
with local leaders. The Agency will continue its campaign of peace promotion
in the country.
Spreading Hope on Madura Island
In mid-June, CRS officially launched its three-month $220,000 program to aid
5,000 displaced Madurese families now living on Madura Island. The Agency
will distribute necessities such as food and cooking utensils in three sub
districts. Sadly, many Madurese simply dream of returning home, something
that is far from possible right now. Sirajudin, a 30-year old displaced
Madurese said, "Many of us cannot bear living a life like this. We hope we
will someday return to our homes... with the aid... [of] NGOs
(non-governmental organizations) like CRS."
CRS supports peace building efforts by collaborating with the local
interreligious forum. The Agency has established a strong relationship with
Nahdlatul Ulama, the country's largest Muslim organization. Together, the two
organizations have many opportunities to promote tolerance, peace and
reconciliation. CRS Emergency
200 tons of rice
56,250 kilos of salted fish
14,850 gallons of cooking oil
Assisting Refugees and Local People in West Timor
Focusing on specific communities (both local population and East Timorese
refugees) through agricultural activities and a supplemental feeding program,
Catholic Relief Services aims to transform existing conflicts between the
local populations and refugees so that they can live together in a peaceful
environment. The Agency provides both the refugees and local people with
agricultural tools to cultivate land, while children under five years of age,
and pregnant and lactating women receive supplemental food such as green
beans, red rice, and sugar. Some 200,000 people are assisted through this
Following the conflict resulting from East Timor's independence from
Indonesia, there are more than 100,000 East Timorese refugees still living in
squalid camps or among villagers in West Timor. To date approximately 150,000
East Timorese refugees have returned to East Timor.
A nation of islands spanning an area nearly three times the size of Texas,
Indonesia is riddled with emergency situations. Although some emergencies are
man-made and others are natural disasters, Catholic Relief Services works to
cultivate peace and restore dignity for those in need. "Staff are working
very hard to provide assistance to people in many different regions of
Indonesia. In addition to meeting basic needs, our assistance is a way to
demonstrate our solidarity with the victims", explained Petula Nash, CRS'
Regional Team Leader for Southeast, East Asia and the Pacific.
Since February, close to 80,000 Madurese migrants living in different regions
of Indonesia have been transported to the nearby island of Java and their
homeland of Madura. Intense fighting has left some 400 dead. Catholic Relief
Services remains committed to the people of Indonesia and continues to
collaborate closely with local partners, government offices and
non-governmental organizations to reach those most in need.
Your support is needed.
Donations can also be made by calling:
or by sending checks to:
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7090.