Help Refugees in Indonesia Get Resettled

Help Refugees in Indonesia Get Resettled

12,639 have signed. Let’s get to 15,000!
Petition to
Filippo Grandi and

Why this petition matters

Started by Musa Zafar

To: UNHCR in Indonesia and his excellency Filippo Grandi: Commissioner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Seeking asylum has become an increasingly common phenomenon in today's world as a result of insecurity, conflict, and persecution. The citizens from war-torn countries are forced to flee their homes to find a safe place for themselves and their loved ones. The right to seek asylum is globally recognized and legally protected in the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. The Refugee Convention is a legal document that outlines the rights of refugees and legal obligations of the states.

About 13,700 refugees and asylum seekers have been waiting in Indonesia to be resettled into a third country for over ten years. Their most basic fundamental rights, which are emphasized in international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are systematically infringed on a daily basis. Their freedom of movement, education, employment, and political and social rights have been ignored. These people have been forgotten and the world has turned a blind eye to their crisis.

The notion that Refugees in Indonesia are only the responsibility of Australia for resettlement has significantly lowered their chances of resettlement to other UN resettling countries. Further exacerbating their predicament, the Australian government has announced that Refugees registered with UNHCR in Indonesia on or after 1 July 2014 will not be considered for resettlement. This is why the plight of Refugees in Indonesia is a man-made catastrophe. They are victims of the policies that run counter to the very principles that animate the Refugee Convention and numerous other international instruments and national laws. 

Indonesia has not ratified the Refugee Convention: the most important legal document that protects asylum seekers’ rights.  This non-ratification is deeply consequential.  The overwhelming majority of asylum seekers are often immediately detained upon their arrival in Indonesia.  It takes years before they are released into the community but in most cases, they become the forgotten Refugees thrown in the corner of a detention center without any human rights or legal redress.  There is no accountability and transparency in the state system which means the authorities can do whatever they choose with the refugees. If a refugee complains about their ill-fated conditions, they are seen as ugly demons, rubbed under the feet of authorities and threatened to be pushed to the bottom of the queue.

Refugees in Indonesia are not allowed to work or study: two fundamental rights that are essential to (I) children for a better future and (II) families to prevent breakdown due to financial hardship. A child ten years ago, today a 20-year-old, robbed of her basic right to education, is a living victim of a broken and callous system that purposely creates an environment of disgust and despair. These children will forever identify themselves as forgotten Refugees: an identity that is on the rise.

This petition acknowledges the resource constraints facing UNHCR and the anti-refugee rhetoric and policies in various states that impede UNHCR’s mission. However, these do not justify the unconscionable delay in processing the settlement applications by these Refugees. The ongoing crisis demands urgent attention and swift action as the suffering has been underway for far too long resulting in widespread depression, families falling apart and children growing with a sense of statelessness. So far, at least 13 refugees have committed suicide and have put a tragic end to their trauma in Indonesia. It is predictable and highly likely that the number of suicides will increase substantially — unless something changes soon.

The primary purpose of UNHCR is to “safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees” and we submit that the rights of Refugees in Indonesia have been compromised and ignored for far too long. We call for immediate action to be taken that is respectful, dignified and constructive to reverse this longstanding catastrophe.

We strongly urge the UNHCR in Indonesia to take actions and help Refugee in Indonesia by:

·       Resettlement of Refugees in Indonesia, who have been waiting for many years, to be taken seriously and given utmost priority;

·       Safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees in Indonesia whilst they are waiting for resettlement to prevent further loss of life.



12,639 have signed. Let’s get to 15,000!