Refugee Community-Based Paralegal Training 2020
Asylum seeker and refugee (ASR) are known to be one of the most marginalized groups in every part of the world. They have fled from their home countries due to persecution, seeking safer life. However, in practice, many ASR are not welcomed in various countries due to the rise of global extreme nationalism and irrational security regulation. This condition is further worsened in transit countries, meaning the countries who are not signatory to Refugee Convention and its Protocol, such as Indonesia.
As a host for 13.612 ASR (1), Indonesia has put a considerable amount of attention to ASR. In 2016, President Joko Widodo enforced Presidential Regulation 125/2016 on The Handling of Foreign Refugees. This marked the first legal recognition for ASR in Indonesia. However, said regulation does not cover the protection of rights for ASR in Indonesia, thus creating legal gaps on fulfilment of rights of ASR while in Indonesia.
While living in limbo, ASR in Indonesia have a small chance of being resettled with an average waiting period of 8 years or even more due to increasing trend of xenophobia and anti-immigrant policies applied in various countries. This condition is heightened with the fact that Covid-19 has started to spread worldwide since 2019. The amount of resettlement in third countries are decreasing due to health factors of migration during pandemic, which also affected the resettlement acceptance of ASR from Indonesia.
The long waiting period with minimum fulfilment of rights are several factors that led to legal problems faced by ASR in Indonesia. In 2019, SUAKA received a total of 24 cases, the majority of which are related to domestic case (non-Refugee Status Determination (RSD) case). From January to August 2020, SUAKA has received 41 cases, 40 of which are related to domestic case. This shows an increased pattern of potential domestic cases faced by refugees in Indonesia.
While SUAKA has been actively advocating cases and policies on refugee rights protection in Indonesia, SUAKA also sees the importance of empowering refugee community with legal knowledge and skills to help them protect and advocate for their own community as there is no other person who understands their own community better than they do.
In 2019, SUAKA has started to train 23 ASR from various refugee communities in Indonesia to be a paralegal in order to broaden access to justice for refugee communities in Indonesia. The paralegals are expected to be able to advocate for ASR communities, transfer the legal knowledge that they get from SUAKA’s training and help solve problems arising from their communities. SUAKA also expects the paralegals to collaborate with SUAKA in handling cases, conducting capacity building, building network and advocating policies. Due to the limited access of legal aid for ASR Indonesia, paralegals will become key actors in broadening the access to justice.
In November 2020, SUAKA will conduct “Refugee Community-Based Paralegal Training Batch 2: Advancing Refugee’s Legal Knowledge towards Inclusive Indonesian Society”.
We seek committed ASR community leaders who want to serve their community to join this training. The participants of this training will not only gain information for their own benefit, but further spread the information to their respective communities, resulting in bigger impact for ASR in Indonesia. As a form of sustainability, the trained participants will conduct their duty as paralegals and collaborate with SUAKA in helping their communities.
Therefore, we cordially invite committed refugee community member who has leadership quality who want to serve their community to join the Community-Based Paralegal Training: Advancing Refugee’s Legal Knowledge towards Inclusive Indonesian Society.
(1) UNHCR Indonesia, Monthly Statistical Report: August 2020, 2020.