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04 July 2008

Ministry of Social Solidarity - 235 IDPs from Police Academy camp return home

MINISTRY OF SOCIAL SOLIDARITY PRESS RELEASE 3 July 2008 235 IDPs from Police Academy camp return home -Commencing today, as part of the government’s Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru national recovery strategy, 235 families from the Police Academy IDP camp will be assisted to return to their homes.

The Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, told the IDPs “you have decided it is time to return home, and with this decision you have indicated that you wish to contribute to the development of this country, and help resolve the problems of IDPs.” He added, “the government is ready to help you reintegrate into your communities. If you face difficulties, MSS will work together with UN agencies, NGOs and local authorities to try to help you resolve these difficulties through mediation. We know that it is difficult to rebuild your houses, and for this reason the Ministry of Social Solidarity is providing those of you whose houses were damaged or destroyed with a recovery grant to help you rebuild or repair your homes. In this way, the government is also continuing to demonstrate its commitment to the development of Timor-Leste.”

The Camp Manager of the Police Academy camp, Antonio da Luz, thanked the staff of Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru for helping the IDPs to reintegrate into their communities. “We are pleased to return, and hope we will be happy back in our houses and can contribute to the development of this nation. Although we are leaving the camp today, we will remain together in our hearts. We ask the government to help ensure security in our communities of return.”

The Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, thanked the Camp Manager for his work in the camp over the past two years. He also thanked CRS, which provided Police Academy camp with humanitarian assistance, and UNICEF for their water and sanitation support to the camp over the past two years. The Secretary of State also thanked the Chefe Aldeias and Chefe Sucos in the receiving communities for their work with MSS to ensure that the situation in their areas of return will remain peaceful.

Earlier this week, more than 200 IDPs from Karantina and UNITAL transitional shelter sites who were able to return home commenced reintegrating into their communities. With the return of the IDPs from Police Academy camp a total of more than 2500 IDP families will have received a recovery package under the Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru National Recovery Strategy.MSS has now finished registering people’s wishes for resettlement. The verification process is ongoing in a number of camps. The next camp to be assisted to return will be the Airport camp. MSS knows that all IDPs want to return home soon. The government has a camp return schedule, and asks IDPs to please be patient. MSS is committed to helping everyone who wishes to return to do so.

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