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20 December 2008

Minister of Social Solidarity holds a dialogue with residents of Metinaro IDP camp

MINISTRY OF SOCIAL SOLIDARITY

PRESS RELEASE 17 December 2008

Minister of Social Solidarity holds a dialogue with residents of Metinaro IDP camp

On 16 December 2008, the Minister of Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Fernandes Alves, the Secretary of State of Social Assistance and Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, the PNTL Dili District Commander, Pedro Belo, a representative of the Ministry of Education, a member of the FFDTL, and the Sub-District Administrator of Metinaro, held a dialogue with the residents of Metinaro IDP camp. The purpose of the dialogue was to explain the Hamutuk Hari'i Uma process to the IDPs and to answer their questions. The verification process is ongoing at the Metinaro camp, and it is expected the camp movement will commence sometime early in 2009.

During the dialogue, the IDPs asked the Minister and others questions about tents and tarpaulins, payments for youth living in the camp, the verification process, and timings regarding the receipt of recovery packages. They also asked for the government’s help to ensure the children living at Metinaro camp will have a smooth transfer between the schools they attend in Metinaro and the schools they will return to in Dili.

The Minister thanked the IDPs for their initiative in organising the dialogue with the assistance of the MSS/UNDP dialogue team. She explained that the government’s national recovery strategy applies to all IDPs in the same way, from Ermera toUatocarbau. The Minister also thanked the community of Metinaro and the FFDTL for allowing the IDPs to live in Metinaro since May 2006.

The Secretary of State explained that during the last rainy season MSS distributed 1600 tarpaulins to the camp, and would distribute more as necessary this rainy season. The Secretary of State emphasized “the purpose of the Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru recovery and reintegration packages is to assist families to return and reintegrate into their communities. MSS is helping IDPs through the Hamutuk Hari’i Futuru. It is not a youth compensation program. Where groups of youth have been living together in one tent, and in order to facilitate their safe reintegration from the camp, MSS has provided $200 per tent. But MSS does not pay each youth.” He explained that MSS would give priority to registering and verifying those IDPs who actually live in the camp. He also reconfirmed 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. If any IDPs in Metinaro camp previously lived on this land they should consider moving into transitional housing or into a different house.

The representative from the Ministry of Education confirmed that all children attending school in Metinaro are permitted to transfer to the school of their choice in Dili or the districts. He requested that if a school did not accept a transfer student then the parents of the student should contact the Ministry of Education to ask for their assistance.

The PNTL Dili District Commander, Pedro Belo, explained that returning IDPs should not leave their possessions unattended underneath a tarpaulin when they return home, or they might get burnt.

The MSS/ UNDP Dialogue Teams have organised five community dialogues in December. Dialogues have been held in Suco Estado and Lissapat in Ermera, and Bairopite and Mascarinhas in Dili. A community dialogue will also be held in Venilale, Baucau on 22 December. The MSS/UNDP dialogue teams promote dialogue as a means to addressing community conflict. They have also conducted more than 200 mediations in support of IDP reintegration and return.

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