Indonesia Asks Australia's Help to Handle Asylum Seekers  

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  • Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers commemorate the world refugee day at the Legal Aid Foundation building in Jakarta. TEMPO/Imam Sukamto

    Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers commemorate the world refugee day at the Legal Aid Foundation building in Jakarta. TEMPO/Imam Sukamto

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - In a recent meeting with Australia's Minister for Justice Michael Keenan, Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly talked about asylum seekers. Laoly said that the number of asylum seekers in Indonesia has surged, causing overcapacity in shelters.

    "We hope that a partnership with Australia can be a resolution to this issue. We could, for instance, build another immigration detention house (Rudenim)," Laoly said at the Ministry's Immigration building in Jakarta Tuesday, August 9.

    The current Rudenim used to accommodate immigrants, Laoly said, is out of capacity. The number of asylum seekers in the building has reached 13,000 people.

    "Some of them are placed in community houses, some in detention. The latter already has more than its maximum capacity," Laoly said.

    Indonesia, according to Laoly, is still having difficulties to share refugees with Australia. "Australia has a strict policy, no longer as lenient in accepting refugees."

    However, Laoly said Indonesia will receive assistance from Australia-backed institutions. One of them is the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

    "The IOM will help handle the immigrants, backed up (verified) by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who will check refugees who are untitled (without status)," Laoly explained.

    Those who have been checked and registered as refugees will be sent to third-world countries.  

    The Justice and Human Rights Ministry, through the Directorate General of Immigration, plans to establish a standard operating procedure for managing refugees. "I have asked the Director General to hold an inter-ministerial meeting to discuss the SOP is."

    YOHANES PASKALIS