United Nations Refugee Agency officials address asylum seekers in this July 11, 2019 file photo. (Antara Photos/M Risyal Hidayat)

Migrants Launch Fresh Protest Outside UN Refugee Agency Offices


JULY 29, 2019

Jakarta. A group of about 100 migrants protested in front of the offices of the United Nations Refugee Agency in Central Jakarta on Monday.

The protesters, who are all unattached individuals, demanded equal treatment as their peers with families, whose needs are often prioritized. 

One of the asylum seekers, only identified as Abdul, said his group has been stranded in Indonesia for the past seven years. He claimed that they are often denied basic needs and were also overlooked in the recent relocation process, which mainly favored families. 

He added that they would continue protesting until the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) caves in to their demands.

Indonesia currently hosts around 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers from several countries, including Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia.

They may remain in Indonesia while waiting for the UNHCR to process their resettlement applications. However, refugees may not work, so they often rely on help from local governments or donors. 

Some migrants were given temporary housing in Kalideres, North Jakarta, after demonstrating in front of the UNHCR offices earlier this month.

Many countries that have ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention started restricting immigration, causing the resettlement process, which used to take three years or less, to be extended to 10 years or more.