"Big people" must reconcile, say displaced Timorese

With 100,000 East Timorese still in camps four months after the end of the recent violence, a Catholic camp coordinator, Br Adriano de Jesus, has said that the country's leaders must set an example in dialogue "because they are the ones who created this problem."

According to AlertNet, while some of the displaced have gone home, others are reluctant, despite the resignation of Mari Alkatiri and the appointment of Noble laureate Jose Ramos-Horta as the new prime minister.

"We're waiting for the big people to embrace each other and to sit down together and talk among themselves and then we'll feel safe," Rosa Soares, a 29 year old mother of two told Reuters at the Don Bosco camp, located in a complex of Catholic institutions.

About 90 percent of East Timorese are Catholic and a number of the nearly 60 camps in the Dili area are on church grounds largely left alone by those responsible for the violence.

"If we went back home we're afraid of what people would do at night. Probably we're going to be dead, we're going to be killed," said Soares.

Mr Alkatiri, the man whose policies many blame for sparking the violence, stepped down as prime minister on 26 June under pressure from President Xanana Gusmao but the process of bringing those involved in the disorder to justice has progressed little, AlertNet reports.

Camp coordinator, Br de Jesus, a Salesian brother who previously ran a vocational training centre, said: "the government has a plan to rebuild all the houses but it's still under process ... so we do not know when it will start."

He said the camp once housed more than 14,000 and the number was now 9,000.

"Nowadays the main concern is about the security. If the people think that there is security stabilised, they will go home," Br de Jesus told Reuters.

But the country's leaders must set an example.

"They themselves have to reconcile because they are the ones who created this problem, and now they're insisting the people to dialogue."

Displaced Timorese await signals from "big people" (AlertNet, 14/8/06)

Priest says coffee growers big losers in Timor unrest (CathNews 21/7/06)
Ramos-Horta wants Vatican embassy for Timor (CathNews 11/7/06)
Timor Church to pursue truth and dialogue (CathNews 28/6/06)
Diocese prepares to aid fleeing East Timor refugees (CathNews 11/5/06)

15 Aug 2006