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Indonesia, Timor Leste still have to settle cases of 82 children

Antara News - September 29, 2007

Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara – Indonesia and Timor Leste still have to settle the cases of 81 children who were separated from their parents after the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) handed them over in 2005, a social services official said.

The secretary of the directorate general of social rehabilitation and services at the Social Affairs Ministry, Suharno, said at a coordinating meeting on social problems here on Friday "there are still 81 cases of East Timorese children separated from their parents."

He said the cases had become the responsibility of the Indonesia and Timor Leste governments because the UNHCR had already handed them over to the two governments since 2005.

The UNHCR handed over 107 cases of East Timorese children who had been separated from their families when it ended its humanitarian mission in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara province on December 5, 2005. Since then the two countries had already settled 25 of the cases leading to the reunion of children with their families.

Meanwhile, in 2006 Indonesia and Timor Leste had also been able to reunite another child with its family so that there were now still 81 cases left. "We hope the provincial government of East Nusa Tenggara as the extension of the central government will be actively involved in helping settle the cases," he said.

He said efforts to settle the cases were part of the ministry's program for neglected children. According to data there are 2,815,393 neglected children in the country and 62,755 of them are in East Nusatenggara.

This year the ministry allocated Rp3 billion in funds to tackle the neglected children in East Nusa Tenggara and set a target of tackling the cases of 2,300 of them.

It had also allocated an additional subsidy of Rp3.08 billion to meet the basic needs of more than 3,769 of the children. "It also plans to allocate more than Rp3 billion to handle the cases of separated children in East Nusa Tenggara in 2008," he said.