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Posts from the ‘Opinion’ Category

Storybook for Children on COVID-19

This book was a project developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG). The project was supported by global, regional and country based experts from Member Agencies of the IASC MHPSS RG, in addition to parents, caregivers, teachers and children in 104 countries. A global survey was distributed in Arabic, English, Italian, French and Spanish to assess children’s mental health and psychosocial needs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The e-book can be downloaded, by clicking here: My Hero is You, how kids can fight COVID-19

A framework of topics to be addressed through the story was developed using the survey results. The book was shared through storytelling to children in several countries affected by COVID-19. Feedback from children, parents and caregivers was then used to review and update the story.

Over 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world took the time to share with us how they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. A big thank you to these children, their parents, caregivers and teachers for completing our surveys and influencing this story. This is a story developed for and by children around the world.

This IASC MHPSS RG acknowledge Helen Patuck for writing the story script and illustrating this book.

©IASC, 2020. This publication was published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO license (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/igo). Under the terms of this license, you may reproduce, translate and adapt this Work for non-commercial purposes, provided the Work is appropriately cited.

Coronavirus and Refugee

Coronavirus and Refugee

Written by Julio Achmadi. Member of SUAKA, Coordinator of Legal Empowerment.

“At least 34 of the 114 countries affected by coronavirus outbreak are hosts to refugee populations, including Indonesia. Based on UNHCR Indonesia’s statistics in November 2019, Indonesia is a host of 13,693 asylum seekers and refugees (ASR), 28% of which are children and 2% elderly. ASR community in Indonesia is one of the most vulnerable, if not the most, to coronavirus.

Their vulnerability level is much higher due to their handicaps living in Indonesia. There are very limited resources allocated by the government for ASR community in general, there’s no protection of basic rights by the law, and no dissemination from the government on the virus outbreak to the ASR community.

ASR in Indonesia also face a problem in understanding actual situation on coronavirus because of the language barrier, thus violating their right to access to information. With no right to work, ASR communities in Indonesia might not be able to afford nutritional foods and sanitary products to protect them from the infectious disease. As of now, ASR community and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have been doing the work in translating information on coronavirus from various sources of languages to the ones understandable by refugees.”

Read the full article to see what types of solution that can be offered, short and long term, by following this link: https://en.tempo.co/read/1326578/coronavirus-and-refugee

‘Impossible to self-isolate,’ Refugees in Indonesia Fear Coronavirus Outbreak

COMMENT: ‘Impossible to self-isolate,’ Refugees in Indonesia fear coronavirus outbreak.

Written by JN Joniad.

He is a Rohingya refugee living in Indonesia after attempting to flee Myanmar for Australia in 2013. He is now witnessing Indonesia’s large refugee and asylum seeker population battle with the coronavirus pandemic.

“For thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia, it is impossible to keep any social distance.

There are over 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers living in limbo in Indonesia, with thousands having fled their country to seek refuge in Australia, only to be stranded there in transit. They are now at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.  

In Jakarta, many refugees and asylum seekers share rooms and cramped apartments. Those in International Organisation for Migration (IOM) accommodation and camps live in overcrowded conditions. 

It is almost impossible for them to practice social distancing. With no basic rights to work, travel and use public health services, refugees and asylum seekers are further marginalised and the most vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus. “

Read the full article in https://www.sbs.com.au/news/dateline/comment-impossible-to-self-isolate-refugees-in-indonesia-fear-coronavirus-outbreak

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed in the article above are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent official views nor stance those of Perkumpulan SUAKA members. SUAKA is not responsible and does not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the article above. The primary purpose of sharing the article above is to inform and provide alternative perspectives, with the end goal to provide comprehensive and holistic solutions for refugee rights protection.

Protection for refugees in Indonesia: A state responsibility

Refugees in Indonesia have staged many rallies this year. The street hosting the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Indonesia, Jl. Kebon Sirih in Central Jakarta, was filled with refugees, requesting protection and a solution to their situation living in limbo for years, particularly from June to August.

Refugee migration is increasing worldwide as a result of civil wars and internal conflicts in various parts of the world. The UN estimates that as of last June, Indonesia had been a host to almost 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Myanmar, Sudan, etc.

Indonesia has a responsibility as a state in providing protection for refugees and asylum seekers. Indonesia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. However, is being signatory to the aforementioned conventions the only pre-requisite for a state in providing protection for refugees in Indonesia?

As a member of the UN, Indonesia is signatory to eight core international human rights conventions, some of which have been adopted in domestic regulations. Apart from international conventions, Presidential Regulation 125/2016 on the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia has acknowledged and recognized refugees in a national legal context, even though protection clauses are lacking within the said regulation.

Ratifying an international convention may require the state to do more work, but further research is needed on the potential impacts on the state’s readiness in adhering to the international standards of human rights fulfillment, among other things. What are the current solutions for refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia?

The UN cites three main durable solutions: assisted voluntary repatriation, resettlement and integration with the local community. The first choice is hardly a possible option as the conflicts in refugees’ country of origin rarely subside; while the non-refoulement principle under international customary law considers making refugees return to their own country and endangering their safety a breach of international law. Resettlement, which is highly hoped by refugees as the best solution for them, also does not seem possible with the rise of extreme nationalism, Islamophobia and resistance from countries such as Australia, the United States as well as European countries who used to accept refugees from Indonesia.

This situation leaves us with the third option. As a non-signatory member of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its Optional Protocol of 1967, the government might say integration with the local community is not a possible option. However, integration is inevitable between the refugee community and Indonesian society. The refugees have already started integrating in society ever since they arrived on Indonesian soil.

Ending the conflicts in the respective countries would be a utopic solution for refugee migration in general. With a minimum chance of going back to their countries and being resettled, living in limbo for more than eight years as the average waiting time to be resettled, has greatly affected the mental health of refugees in Indonesia. Assuming the average waiting time is lengthened due to the minimal successful resettlement cases and steady influx of refugees into Indonesia, the government must start preparing for the unavoidable consequences of the current situation by starting to provide basic rights to refugees and legal recognition.

In India, Tibetan refugees’ right to residency is contingent upon a Registration Certificate (RC) which is a legal document issued by Indian authorities, equivalent to an identity card. RC issuance to Tibetans started in 1956 when the Dalai Lama was exiled, followed by a mass exodus of Tibetan refugees into India. RCs are valued as they allow Tibetans to legally travel and work within the country, serving as an identity document and a prerequisite for an Identity Certificate. Although currently, the process to acquire an RC is arduous, the legal recognition remains clear for Tibetans in India.

In 2000, Malaysia as the host of more than 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers provided nonrenewable six-month work permits for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. In 2015, Malaysia had considered in multiple cases the creation of temporary work permits. The permits were supposed to benefit Rohingya refugees to be legally employed in Malaysia, though the plan did not materialize.

Indonesia’s government can learn from the practices in India and Malaysia as progressive commitments from states who are not signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. For instance, Indonesia can create a Kartu Izin Tinggal Sementara untuk Pengungsi (Refugee Temporary Stay Permit Card) or collaborate in partnerships with local and international agencies to establish livelihood opportunities.

Indonesia has to adopt long-term strategies rather than ad-hoc policies to prevent a bottleneck in providing legal recognition as well as sufficient protection for refugees and asylum seekers.

________
by Julio Castor, Human rights lawyer and member of SUAKA, an association advocating protection for asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia.

This article originally appeared on The Jakarta Post, link below:

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/10/10/protection-refugees-indonesia-a-state-responsibility.html

Education for Child Refugee in Indonesia

Do you ever imagine, what would happen if you don’t have any legal identity?

Losing an ID card might be a problem for us; we cannot open a bank account, apply for health insurance, or even check in to airports. These little things might be just a little disturbance in our daily life, and can be solved by a visit to police station. But, if no one will ever give it back to us, those little financial, health, and transportation issues will be a huge lifetime problem. And these are problems that every refugee struggled in. Read more