News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


In first trips by sea, 2,000 East Timorese return

In first trips by sea, some 2,000 displaced East Timorese return home from West Timor: UNHCR

22 October -- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today reported that almost 2,000 displaced East Timorese made the 10-hour trip from West Timor to Dili in the first returns by boat.

Almost 10,000 people have gone back, either spontaneously or in an organised fashion, to East Timor since the UN agency started its repatriation campaign earlier this month.

UNHCR said spontaneous returns overland, which stopped abruptly on Wednesday, still had not resumed today. Thousands of people are believed to be stuck on the West Timor side of the border in makeshift camps where, with the onset of the rainy season, there is increased risk of disease. Aid agencies will truck in medical kits and other relief items to the Kupang area tonight.

Meanwhile, the multinational force (INTERFET) announced that it had landed in the East Timorese enclave of Oecussi to pave the way for delivery of humanitarian aid. The enclave, which is surrounded by the Indonesian territory of West Timor, is the site of reported killings, the UN spokesman said. INTERFET detained about 40 militia and disarmed them of knives, swords and pipe-guns.

In other developments, the members of the international commission of inquiry on East Timor are expected to assemble in Geneva during the first half of November before heading directly to the region, UN officials said today.

A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights told reporters in Geneva that a number of other experts from the UN Commission on Human Rights were also expected to travel to the region in the first half of November, including the Special Rapporteurs on torture, violence against women, and arbitrary executions. The working group on disappearances and the Secretary-General's Special Representative on internally displaced persons are also scheduled to visit East Timor.

Meanwhile, independence leader Xanana Gusmao made an emotional return to East Timor last night. Mr. Gusmao, who for most of the last seven years had been imprisoned in Jakarta for his political activities, told thousands of local supporters in downtown Dili that "we can leave behind" all of our suffering. "Today, we see our future," he said. "This land is ours."


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Tom Scott's Avantdale Bowling Club: The 10th Annual Taite Music Prize Announced

The Taite Music Prize 2019 ceremony also saw the presentation of the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut, Independent Spirit Award, and Independent Music NZ Classic Record award. More>>


Elisabeth Calder: Gifted Editor And Publisher To Receive Honorary Doctorate

The English editor and publisher who discovered some of the greatest writers of our times, including Salman Rushdie, Julian Barnes and Anita Brookner, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by the University of Canterbury (UC) at the University’s Arts and Science graduation ceremony on 18 April. More>>

Howard Davis: Charlie Parker With Strings - Live!

Hear these swinging rhythms with lush strings and a twist of bebop when Dick Oatts performs Charlie Parker with Strings accompanied by the New Zealand String Quartet and Jazz Ensemble, Musical Director Rodger Fox. More>>

Disaster Response: Canterbury Quakes - 'Widespread Adverse Effects' On Mental Health

The researchers noted that while support services such as free counselling exist, New Zealand's public health services are already under strain and even small increases in demand may result in a considerable extra burden for health workers. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland