APSN Banner

Indonesian citizens isolated in East Timor

Tempo Interactive - April 19, 2004

Erwin Z, Jakarta – A total of 278 Indonesian citizens currently residing in the An-Nur mosque, Dili, East Timor, have requested that the Indonesian Representatives' Office (KUKRI) in the country to pay attention to them as they have been isolated by the East Timorese authorities.

H. Arham, the coordinator for these Indonesian citizens, told Koran Tempo by phone on Sunday that since April they have had difficulty in getting food and water due to this isolation. Meanwhile, their food supplies have decreased day by day and many of their children are ill.

"The Indonesian Representatives' Office in Dili has shown a lack of attention regarding this matter," said Arham. According to Arham, the East Timorese Immigration Office head, Carlos Geronimo, had given them until to April 24 to stay in the area.

After that, they had two options, either to be relocated to somewhere else outside of the mosque or to be deported back to Indonesia.

Arham said that they all wanted to remain staying in East Timor but considered that the current situation was not very conducive for them.

The 278 Indonesians have been staying in the An-Nur mosque, the largest and the only mosque in Dili, since September 9, 1999.

According to Arham, they have built a school within the mosque area for them and the other East Timorese residing nearby. They all feel the benefits of this school. But apparently, this school does not meet the policies laid down by the East Timorese government.

If these Indonesians want to become East Timorese citizens, they have to stay in the country for five years starting from May 20, 2002.