05 September 2008

East Timor Police to accompany Government officials verifying IDP recovery program

Democratic Republic of East Timor
Ministry of Social Solidarity
Secretary of the Hamutuk Harii Futuru Program

Press Release 2 September 2008

PNTL to Accompany MSS Verification Teams

Today, the Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, announced that as of yesterday, 1 September, each of the 15 MSS verification teams is accompanied by two PNTL officers from the Dili Taskforce.

He explained “30 PNTL officers are accompanying the verification teams in order to provide them with security.

This PNTL presence is necessary in order to act as a deterrent against the threats, and in one case, physical violence that MSS verification teams have been subject to.

Anyone who threatens, or carries out physical violence against an MSS staff member will be arrested and charged with criminal assault.”

It is also hoped that the presence of a PNTL officer with each verification team will deter people from fraudulently trying to claim MSS recovery packages for houses destroyed in 1999.

The Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, said “I wish to clarify that, in accordance with the government policy behind the National Recovery Strategy, Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru, MSS is only giving recovery packages to people whose houses were destroyed between 1 April 2006 and 31 October 2007.

Families whose houses were destroyed in 1999 are not entitled to receive a recovery package. One family is entitled to ONLY ONE recovery package.”

The purpose of verification is to take IDPs back to their former homes so they can identify the house positively as their house. The government will then know definitively, who was the pre-April 2006 occupier of that house. The estimation team will then calculate the amount each IDP is entitled to receive as a recovery package.

Each IDP is then informed of this amount through the socialization process prior to a camp movement.Verification is currently being conducted for the Hera Port IDP camp. Socialization is being conducted for Dom Bosco and Sao Jose IDP camps, which MSS will start to assist to move on Thursday, 4 September.

To date, 5963 IDP families have received a recovery package or a reintegration package. MSS has distributed more than $12.9 million in recovery/reintegration packages. MSS has assisted IDPs from 29 camps to return home. 22 camps are now closed.

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