TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - An Iranian asylum seeker who currently lives at the former Kalideres military command (Kodim) facility in West Jakarta said that he has spent more than 6 years in Indonesia waiting for the UNHCR to help provide certainty in regard to an asylum country.
A similar fate was also shared by fellow Iranian Amir Kleibu Khufaif, who hopes to finally obtain asylum and end his status as a refugee. However, after 10 years stranded in Indonesia, Amir is yet to receive assurance from the international organization.
Thomas Vargas as UNHCR’s Indonesian representative explained that these asylum seekers have yet reached their intended destination is mainly because less than one percent of refugees in the world are able to resettle to a third country.
The low percentage of asylum resettlement forces asylum seekers to temporarily take refuge in stopover countries such as Indonesian and Malaysia for an extended period of time until asylum countries such as Australia and the United States of America open their transmigration doors to a greater extent.
“We continue to work hard with other countries so that the resettlement can be done. Every country has its rules and we must respect that,” said Thomas.
He argues that the small quota provided by asylum countries makes resettlements no longer as the main solution for the refugees. He said the UNHCR is searching for a way for the 14,000 international refugees in Indonesia to no longer depend on government support to survive such as creating programs that enable the asylum seekers to work in informal sectors managed by Indonesians.
M JULNIS FIRMANSYAH