The Refugee of The World
The Refugee of The World
In Indonesia, we are no longer in physical danger but the denial of our basic rights and severe restrictions mean that we cannot live normal lives and rebuild our communities. We have no work rights; no travel rights; no right to formal education; no right to marry outside our community; curfew from 6 pm to 10 am; punishment if delayed or failing to return to designated accommodation; compulsory reporting of all movements to security; no right to drive any vehicle.
We are grateful to the UNHCR as they negotiate with Indonesia to allow us to stay, but it has failed us compromising our resettlement option with Australia’s deterrent policy. Both the UNHCR and IOM are complicit in Australia’s brutal policies. The UNHCR has blocked the refugees’ access to its refugee resettlement process, which it manages on behalf of the international community. And IOM has selectively granted or withheld access to accommodation and financial support to refugees, for which Australia pays. The behaviour of these NGOs, which are supposed to protect refugees’ human rights and safety, shows they are active players in Australia and Indonesia’s punishing policies.
This is why refugees have lost both trusts in the NGOs, and hope for a better future.
Under its intransigent border protection policy, Australia has pushed back refugees illegally into Indonesia under their boat turn-back policy; they have carried out refoulement (forbidden to signatories of the UN Declaration on refugees) and they apply punitive measures against refugees once in Australia, detaining them in offshore detention centres, and deporting them back to their country of origin, even when it is dangerous.
Australia’s refugee policy is being hijacked by domestic political issues and refugees are being used as pawns to serve as an example and a deterrent to others who are seeking refuge in Australia. The message is clear: compassion no longer exists in Australia.
Our dealings with the UNHCR have convinced me that the UNHCR is complicit in Australia’s nefarious policies. We concluded this because the UNHCR has blocked the resettlement process for refugees, not only to Australia but to all countries.
We, Refugees, have been stranded in Indonesia between 6 to 10 years and the UNHCR has failed to offer us resettlement options. Several countries (the US, New Zealand, Canada) offered places for us, broadcasting this news in the mass media, but their offers have remained ignored. We, therefore, regard the UNHCR refugee program as discriminatory and unworthy of their claim of serving refugees.
Australia’s harsh policies are setting a dangerous precedent in the region. As countries become more intransigent, the refugee population suffers.
In short, refugees in Indonesia are also indirectly detained by Australia with its strategic policies of the bilateral agreement made by both countries mediated by IOM from 2013, and varied over the years as other Prime Ministers saw fit; in fact, Indonesia-held refugees share a fate totally comparable to those held on Manus Island and Nauru.
When both Australia and the UNHCR implements a policy that actively persecutes the Refugees in the region, how can refugees keep any hope for a safe future?
Refugees in Indonesia have been pushed to their limits and the powers tasked to uphold human rights are keeping them marginalized, detained, tortured, victimized and trafficked out to sea.
Firstly, Even though UNHCR and IOM being a human rights NGOs, have actively supported Australian deterrence policy against Refugees: therefore, it should be held responsible for lost refugees’ lives in the region and the active involvement in this crime for an unfathomable reason.
Secondly, Because of Australia’s position on refugees and their influence on border policy, the Refugees’ chances for resettlement are being blocked. We understand that Australia has no desire to help us, refugees, for whatever specific reason. But it should not be assumed that we want to resettle in Australia at any cost. We will pursue any option that leads us to safety and normal life. However, given Australia’s damaging role in our prospects, we see it as fair and logical that Australia must compensate the refugees for violating our rights as refugees. If we apply the principles of international law; what they have done to refugees is a crime against humanity.
Thirdly, Indonesia, which has shown us kindness, nevertheless has failed to offer us the same rights and dignity that other countries offer to refugees under the obligations they have accepted by signing the UN
Declaration on Refugees. Additionally, the Indonesian government has not made any attempt to prevent Australia’s deterrent policy and has silently collaborated on the issue of refugee’s resettlement in Australia. Therefore, we ask that the Indonesian government actively negotiate with other governments for our resettlement and uses its influence to mediate in the UNHCR resettlement program.
Finally, We, refugees, need justice and repairs for the injustice we have suffered for so many years. We must have a safe and fair place to call our home.