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Media Release
No. 26/R/SUAKA-CPG/XII/2018

SUAKA: Criminalization Against Refugees Who Are Accused As Gigolo At Batam

Indonesia’s Directorate General of Immigration of Ministry of Justice and Human Rights secured 10 male refugees who were accused to be working as gigolo at Batam. The immigration said that they misused their asylum seeker certificates which were published by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) to do the alleged criminal offense because they no longer live in the Immigration Detention Center nor under the responsibilities of UNHCR and the International Organization of Migration (IOM).

SUAKA is tremendously disappointed to hear the statement of Directorate General of Immigration of Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Ronny Franky Sompie in declaring that they would deport all the refugees involved in this case.

Indonesia as part of the international community and as a part of the United Nations, is bound by Customary International Law which is the principle of non-refoulment. This principle states that no country can expel or return an asylum seeker or refugee in any manner to the frontiers of territories where his life would be threatened.

“We claimed that this act by Immigration was pure criminalization and the connection to them being asylum seeker or not is not relevant. Immigration and police should have taken care of this case as careful as possible, so that no negative stigma would arise to asylum seeker or refugee who are seeking protection in Indonesia”, said Febi Yonesta, SUAKA Coordinator, an Indonesian Civil Network Society for the Protection of The Rights of Asylum Seeker and Refugee, one of NonGovernmental Organization based in Indonesia which advocates the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.

“Asylum Seekers and Refugees are people who went through dark history at their own respective countries. They were victims of persecution conducted by State Actor or Non-State Actor based on ethnicity, nationality, religion, as well as being in a particular social group or politically active. They are protected under International Law and every country shall be responsible in protecting, respecting and fulfilling their rights”, he added.

“Both of asylum seekers and refugees are often faced to financial problems and other difficulties in countries where they escaped to, such as Indonesia who hasn’t acknowledge their rights as stipulated under The Refugee 1951 Convention. Indonesia hasn’t ratified this Convention. This is the reason why asylum seekers and refugees, especially those who are still underaged, are very vulnerable to criminal activities and human trafficking”, said Alldo Felix Januardy, an International Refugee Lawyer from SUAKA.

Bear in mind that the perpetrator of exploitation and sexual violence to children is subject to criminal sanctions, 10 years serving in the prison at maximum and/or fine amounts to Rp. 200.000.000,- (two hundred thousand rupiah) as stipulated under Provision 86 and 76I of Indonesia Child Protection Laws (Undang-Undang Nomor 35 Tahun 2014 tentang Perubahan atas Undang-Undang Nomor 23 Tahun 2002 tentang Perlindungan Anak).

“This case should be the foundation for Indonesian government to strengthen all regulations in protecting asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia. We don’t want any other underaged asylum seekers and refugees to be the next victim in the near future”, added Alldo.

“All perpetrator, be it asylum seeker, refugee or any other people, must be processed under the law of Indonesia. However, Indonesia as a state is obliged under international law to ensure the fulfilment of the rights of asylum seeker and refugee in its territory. Do not let this case stigmatized them”, said Febi Yonesta.