WASHINGTON (CNS): Reconciliation and the return of East Timorese refugees from Indonesia are needed for an independent East Timor, said a Church official and other activists.
‘Probably the most important thing we’re working on is to unite the East Timorese people,’ the co-ordinator of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Diocese of Baukau, Ilidio Gusmao said during an April 12 visit to the US Catholic Conference in Washington.
Mr Gusmao and other activists spoke through a translator in a meeting with Thomas Quigley, the policy adviser on Asia for the US Catholic Conference. The group travelled to the United States as guests of the US Government through the State Department’s International Visitor Program to study democracy and human rights.
Mr Gusmao said food aid distribution was not even. ‘Some of the people who need the food most are not getting it,’ he said.
But there was improvement in distribution after Catholic Relief Services, the international relief and development agency of the US bishops, began work in Baukau earlier this year, he said.
Now, many people are frustrated by current conditions of high unemployment and slow reconstruction, the Church leader said.