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East Timor: former officials repatriated to Portugal

08-02-1996 News Release 96/5

Last Wednesday, 31 January, four families from East Timor were repatriated to Portugal under ICRC auspices. On arrival in Lisbon the following day they were met by representatives of the Portuguese Red Cross and the Ministry of Social Security, who will assist them. The 29 people, members of the former Portuguese administration and their families, had stayed on in East Timor after the events of 1975. They were flown to Portugal under a repatriation programme set up by the ICRC in 1979 with the consent of the Portuguese and Indonesian authorities; the last such operation was carried out in May 1994.

Acting as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC helps reunite people from East Timor with their relatives in Portugal, and repatriates persons suffering particular hardship. Since 1979, more than 1,200 people have been repatriated to or reunited with their families in Portugal.