/** reg.easttimor: 3281.0 **/

** Topic: Irish UN man still in Dili is 'deeply touched' by Timorese **
** Written 11:22 PM Sep 10, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Irish UN man still in Dili is 'deeply touched' by Timorese

Irish Times [Dublin] Saturday, September 11, 1999

Irish UN man is 'deeply touched' by Timorese

>From Conor O'Clery, in Jakarta

EAST TIMOR: One of the 40 international staff holding out last night in the besieged UN compound in Dili is Mr Brian Kelly, the Dublin-born deputy chief of public information to the United Nations Mission to East Timor (UNAMET).

A veteran of UN missions in Europe and Africa, Mr Kelly said yesterday: "I've never been in this type of situation before in terms of cynicism and lawlessness and cruelty done to the people. I've seen cruelty before but not so systematically executed on such a stoic and serene people. I am very, very deeply touched by these people." Mr Kelly was referring in particular to the 2,000 East Timorese people who sought refuge in the UNAMET compound earlier this week from militia killer squads.

"The staff members here feel very committed to them," he said after the evacuation yesterday of 500 local and international UNAMET staff to Dili airport from where they were airlifted to Australia.

Mr Kelly, whose father, Mr Seamus Kelly, was author of the Quidnunc column in The Irish Times over 30 years from 1949, was among the UNAMET staff who opposed an order from the UN in New York to evacuate the compound on Tuesday, fearing that this would put the lives of the refugees in grave danger. UN staff began compiling a list of those volunteering to stay, he said, but they gave up when it became clear everyone wanted to sign. Speaking by telephone yesterday as militias attacked the compound car park near his office and smashed vehicles, Mr Kelly said that many of the refugees had fled to the mountains fearing for their lives after the evacuation.

The besieged staff are living off Australian ration packs and sleeping where and when they can in the UNAMET offices. "I just got a clean pair of socks from a colleague who was leaving us," he said. "It felt like the greatest luxury of my life." Though desperately in need of a break, he says he is determined to stay as long as possible. Mr Kelly (55), worked briefly for The Irish Times from 1963 to 1965, before embarking on a career with the UN which in the past decade has taken him to Namibia, Angola, South Africa and Liberia.

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