Friday, 24th February 2017

UNHCR assures no Timor Leste refugee stranded in Indonesia

6th July 2012 | 3.382 Views
UNHCR assures no Timor Leste refugee stranded in Indonesia
Indonesia & Timor Leste.
Kuta, Bali (ANTARA News) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has assured that there has been no Timor Leste refugee being stranded in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).

"Timor Leste citizens found in NTT are not under refugee category," Jakarta UNHCR office external relations official Mitra Salima Suryono said here on Friday.

She made the statement in response to continuing mass media reports about Timor Leste refugees living in destitution in NTT.

"After a referendum the Indonesian and Timor Leste governments have made an agreement with regard to the refugee issue. So, since 2002 there has no longer been any refugee," she said on the sidelines of familiarizing "the UNHCR Mandate and Refugee Problem in Indonesia."

From the referendum until two years after the running of the Timor Leste government refugees in NTT and Timor Leste have been put under the UNHCR responsibility.

But following the agreement made between the Indonesian and Timor Leste governments the problem has been considered settled.

She said NTT people in Timor Leste or vice versa have been considered as common residents who are visiting their relatives or seeking better livelihood.

"Perhaps they feel more comfortable living with their relatives in NTT or Timor Leste," Mitra added.

In view of that she said they are no longer under the status of refugees deserving protection from the UNHCR like in the early period after referendum 13 years ago.

To deal with refugees and political asylum seekers she said UNHCR takes several steps starting from registration, interviews, determining their real status and finding long-term solutions, she said.