03 September 2008

Executive Eviction of Citizens from State land

Democratic Republic of East Timor
Ministry of Social Solidarity
Secretary of the Hamutuk Harii Futuru
Press Release 2 September 2008

Movement of Families from Aspol site

On 1 September, the PNTL started to execute the eviction order that was issued by the Ministry of Justice for the land at Aspol.

Prior to any camp movement, MSS has explained to the residents of the camp that there are a number of areas of government land that IDPs cannot return to, even if they were living there prior to April 2006, as these have been set aside for future government buildings, in particular: the land in front of Mercado Lama, the ex-UIR compound in Fatuhada, and Aspol. The land at Aspol is government land and is the site of future PNTL housing.

The eviction order issued by the Ministry of Justice for the people living there, came into effect on 12 May 2008. MSS has conducted three dialogues with the people living in Aspol informing them of the effect of the eviction order and exploring other housing options with them.

The General Coordinator of Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru, Amandio Amaral Freitas, explained that 32 of the families living at Aspol moved there from IDP camps, such as Hospital, Jardim, Sional. “When they left the IDP camps they were given the option of moving into transitional shelter. They rejected this option and took their recovery grant and moved into Aspol. Before leaving the IDP camp, they were informed that Aspol was government land and they were no longer permitted to live there. Because these 32 families already received a recovery grant under the government’s Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru National Recovery Strategy, they are no longer considered as IDPs and are no longer eligible for transitional shelter.”

They were asked to leave the Aspol site on 1 September. They are being assisted to move by the PNTL.

The Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, explained, “33 of the families living at Aspol lived there throughout the crisis. For those who have registered under Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru, they are of course entitled to a recovery package and will receive this according to the usual processes. For those who have not registered, but lived there from 1999 ­ - 2008, the Ministry of Justice will organise a special payment.” These 33 families will be assisted by the PNTL to leave the Aspol site by the end of the week.

To date, 5963 IDP families have received a recovery package or a reintegration package. MSS has handed out more than $12.9 million in recovery/reintegration packages. MSS has assisted IDPs from 29 camps to return home. 22 camps are now closed. Commencing Thursday, 4 September, MSS will assist Dom Bosco and Sao Jose IDP camps to return home.

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