IOM Launches EC-Funded Community Stability Project in Timor-Leste

Posted: 
02/09/09

IOM has launched a USD 2 million project funded by the European
Commission's (EC) Stability Instrument to enhance community
stability in areas affected by the return or resettlement of
displaced people.

The 18-month project has two main components – working
with communities and the government to improve infrastructure in
targeted areas, and the production of a telenovela or soap opera
for TV and radio promoting reconciliation after the 2006 civil
unrest.

IOM will use the funding to work directly with communities,
local councils (sucos) and the government to improve infrastructure
in areas where access to limited resources, such as water, are
potentially a source of conflict.

The project will also produce and distribute a TV and radio soap
opera designed to encourage national reflection about what happened
in 2006, the social and economic causes behind it and the need for
reconciliation.

After the broadcasts, IOM will work closely with targeted
communities to facilitate discussion of the programme's themes and
establish stronger linkages with existing peace-building and
conflict resolution programmes.

"The return and reintegration of internally displaced people
(IDPs) in Timor-Leste is difficult for everybody involved. This
project will help the government, communities and individuals by
both removing some potential flashpoints through physical
infrastructure upgrades, and by helping people to reflect and come
to terms with the impact of the crisis on their society," says IOM
Chief of Mission Luiz Vieira.

"The European Commission strongly supports activities that aim
to facilitate the reintegration of the IDPs in their home
communities, thus contributing to the government's efforts to
strengthen and maintain social stability in the country.  Such
stability is an absolute requirement for moving forward, from a
post-conflict situation to an era of sustained national economic
development," said EC Ambassador Juan Carlos Rey. 

The project follows two consecutive EC-funded IOM projects to
provide humanitarian and return and reintegration support to IDPs,
and is designed to complement humanitarian assistance by increasing
the sustainability of the returns. 

It builds on an earlier EC-funded IOM community-based return
monitoring project which is providing the government, IOM and other
agencies with data on conflict risks in communities, stemming
primarily from large-scale IDP returns.

Civil unrest in April and May 2006 resulted in the displacement
of an estimated 150,000 people, with approximately 100,000 still
displaced by the end of 2007. By the end of 2008 approximately
10,000 displaced families—formerly living in over 40
camps—had received government return and reintegration
support. There are still approximately 1,000 families in five camps
waiting for return and reintegration assistance.

For more information please contact:

Brad Mellicker

IOM Dili

Tel. +670. 735.1998

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