/** reg.easttimor: 3050.0 **/

** Topic: Indon gov't selected camps UNHCR chief visited in W.Timor **
** Written 12:56 AM Sep 20, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Indon gov't selected camps UNHCR chief visited in W.Timor

Australian Broadcasting Corp. Monday, 20 September 1999

Dispatches: UNHCR Chief makes fleeting visit to West Timor camp.

Aid workers are voicing concern about East Timorese forced across the border into West Timor.

It's estimated about 200-thousand East Timorese -- a quarter of the population -- have ended up in camps like Atambua and Kupang - most forced there by militia people and the Indonesian security forces.

There's been little international scrutiny allowed, amid allegations of dark deeds and disappearances.

Over the weekend - Indonesian authorities allowed a delegation from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a flying visit of just two hours in the border town of Atambua, before returning to Jakarta.

Stephen Skinner has been speaking to U-N-H-C-R spokesman Fernando Dalmundo.

DALMUNDO: The people had their belongings. They looked in good shape otherwise, although they looked tired. Most of them are in tents and in these camps that we visited.

As we were there we saw several, half a dozen truckloads of military trucks bringing people from East Timor. We were told that there's food there, there's water, but transporting food and water to the places where these people are is a bit of a problem. And this is where we're going to have to help out.

SKINNER: Were you allowed access into any camp you wanted to visit in Atambua?

DALMUNDO: Well, in the informal discussion the High Commissioner had with officials since she got here, we were assured we would be able to operate in West Timor. The high commissioner said that we will send staff into West Timor within the next two days.

SKINNER: Did the Indonesian officials select the camps for you to visit, or did the UNHCR decide which camps to visit?

DALMUNDO: No, it didn't decide which camp to visit. The government provided the facilities for us and we were taken to the camps that obviously they want us to see.

SKINNER: Were most of the people that you saw in the camps women and children?

DALMUNDO: Most of them women and children. We talked to some priest who said that the population in these camps is mixed. In otherwords, pro-Indonesia and pro-independence. There were obviously a lot of women and children and even those coming in were mainly women and children.

SKINNER: There weren't many young men in the camps?

DALMUNDO: There were a number of men, but the majority I think are mainly women and children.

SKINNER: And what do you fear could have happened to the young men?

DALMUNDO: It's difficult to say, as I said we didn't have enough time to conduct an investigation.

SKINNER: And who controlled the camps?

DALMUNDO: Well, the militias and the government troops were all around when we were visiting and they were in control.

SKINNER: Mr Dalmundo, you would have heard the reports of militias and military singling out people they believed to be pro-independence supporters and murdering them.

Have you heard those reports?

DALMUNDO: We've been hearing the same reports but as I said the visit that the High Commissioner did yesterday was very short. She didn't have the time to look around to the places where we'd like to go or talk to the people without the presence of the government and the soldiers. See, this is the difficulty.

** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **