Displaced Families Leave Dili's Camps, Return Home

Posted: 
05/29/08

IOM has helped 1,030 displaced families living in three of Dili's
48 displacement camps to return home, two years after the political
violence that forced them to flee their communities.

The three-week return and reintegration operation in support of
the government's national recovery strategy was funded by the
Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission (ECHO) and
Australia's International Refugee Fund (IRF), and focused on Dili's
Fatumeta Seminario Minor, National Hospital and Jardim camps.

The Fatumena and National Hospital camps are now closed, but the
Jardim camp, located directly adjacent to Dili's port, still houses
some displaced families. An estimated 25,000 displaced people are
still sheltering in Dili's 46 remaining camps.

In addition to providing transport for the returns, IOM worked
closely with the government, local leaders and partner agencies to
prepare both the families and their receiving communities through
dialogue to promote reconciliation.

"The return and reintegration of families from the camps is
quite complex. Other families may have moved into their homes
during their absence; there is an acute shortage of alternative
housing; and there is a real risk of renewed violence if large
numbers of people return at the same time," says IOM Timor-Leste
Chief of Mission Luiz Vieira.

"Not everyone can return to their old home and some families
have to move to transitional housing. Our aim is to find viable,
dignified and safe alternatives to life in the camps and that means
working through potential problems with receiving communities
before they happen," he adds.

For more information, please contact:

Brad Mellicker

IOM Dili

Tel:  +670 735 1998

E-mail: "mailto:bmellicker@iom.int">bmellicker@iom.int