This information will help you to answer frequently asked questions specifically on resettlement, and durable solutions in general. This page is for information purposes only. It is not legal advice.
SUAKA is unable to assist with or give advice regarding resettlement to a Third Country. The decision to accept a refugee for resettlement is made by the resettlement country.
Less than 5% of the worldwide refugee population will be offered resettlement. This means less than 1 in every 200 people.
Resettlement is not a right. Resettlement is not an obligation of other countries. Countries that have signed the International Refugee Convention do not have to offer resettlement.
There are three official durable solutions for someone who has been recognized as a refugee by UNHCR.
- Resettlement to a Third Country that accepts refugees from UNHCR;
- Integration with local population of the Country they were found to be a refugee in;
- Repatriation to Country of Origin – if the risk of persecution is no longer present.
Resettlement to a Third Country
Resettlement can be formally made only to a Country which is a party to the United Nations Refugee Convention. Indonesia has not signed the Refugee Convention.
Once an asylum seeker is recognized as a refugee, and if they meet resettlement criteria, a refugee may be asked to attend UNHCR for a resettlement interview. After this, their basic information may be sent to the embassy of resettlement Countries. The resettlement Country does not receive your complete file, only basic information along with an application from UNHCR, called a ‘Resettlement Registration Form (RRF).
Under UNHCR guidelines, and the policies of resettlement countries, resettlement priority is given to persons who are most vulnerable – those with serious medical conditions, unaccompanied children, women at risk, etc. Waiting is very difficult, but there are only a very small number of resettlement places and a very very large number of people waiting to be resettled.
The decision to resettle a refugee is made by the resettlement Country only. Not by UNHCR. The resettlement Country will consider applications made by UNHCR, in line with their Countries resettlement and humanitarian policies.
The time provided by each Country to consider a resettlement request depends on many factors, including each Countries resettlement and humanitarian policies, and the number of refugees the Country offers to resettle every year. Quotas for each Country may change from year to year, depending on the policies of that country.
Neither SUAKA nor UNHCR is not able to give a timeline for resettlement. We cannot give a timeline for how long it will take a resettlement Country to reply once a resettlement application has been made.
SUAKA cannot assist with resettlement applications. If you believe you may meet vulnerability guidelines please email us a copy of your refugee card and explain why you think you are at increased risk and require resettlement. Email: email@example.com
Integration with local population
Currently, Indonesia is not signatory to the International Refugee Convention and cannot officially accept refugees for permanent resettlement.
Many refugees may be in Indonesia for a long time, many years, and informally integrate into Indonesia by getting to know their Indonesian neighbours and taking part in day to day life in their community.
At this point in time, refugees in Indonesia do not have the right to work. Refugee children do have a right to education however in practice, language, cultural barriers and costs often make attending school very difficult.
Repatriation / Voluntary repatriation
If UNHCR decides a country is safe for return, refugees from that country living in Indonesia may be repatriated back to their home country. This process is complex and does not occur very often.
A refugee may also make the decision to return to their home country voluntarily. UNHCR will consider all of the available information and make a decision whether it is safe for the refugee to return. If it is, UNHCR partners such as IOM (International Organisation for Migration) will assist to organize your return. If UNHCR does not think it is safe they will be unable to assist the refugee to return. The refugee may still decide to return on their own without the assistance of UNHCR.
The UNHCR resettlement handbook is available click here
What else can you do?
Suaka continues to campaign in Indonesia for work rights for refugees. Many organizations around the world campaign in their own country for their governments to increase resettlement places. You can support our campaign, and also ask any friends in Indonesia and other countries to support Suaka so we can continue to advocate for refugees.
- Learn Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia). It will help you communicate with people in your local area. If your children can become fluent in Indonesian it will help them to get a chance to be place in a local school.
- If you are a university graduate, research student scholarships in other countries. There are more universities offering scholarships for refugees now. For example, Kiron University in Germany accepts asylum seekers and refugees as online students. Check >> https://www.goethe.de/en/kul/wis/20668117.html
- If you have family members in countries where refugees are resettled, ask them to go to a refugee legal clinic or other place that gives legal advice and ask if they can sponsor you to come to their country.
Picture Credit: Resettlement.eu