Jakarta, 20/6 -World Refugee Days is held on 20 June every year. SUAKA, together with a number of refugee communities in Jakarta and Bogor, came together to plan an event to showcase their cultures to the Indonesian public.
#WithRefugees is UNHCR’s 2016 campaign to garner public support for those who are forced to flee their homes. SUAKA’s event also used #DenganPengungsi, the Indonesian translation.
Zico Pestalozzi, SUAKA’s campaign coordinator, said the concept for the event was ‘shaking hands.’ and was “intended to create a space for positive interactions between Indonesian and refugee communities, without political motives.
“Communicating and mutual understanding between the people of Indonesia and asylum seeker and refugee populations is indispensable because misunderstanding can create tension or conflict within communities,” he said.
SUAKA’s chair, Mr. Febi Yonesta, said information gaps occurred vertically as well as horizontally.
“In practice, many governmental agencies at both central and outer areas do not have a full understanding of refugees. This can result in improper handling” he said.
SUAKA’s World Refugee Day commemorations involved people from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia taking part in events on stage, showing handicrafts and artwork and offering their national foods for all to try.
Asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia are not entitled to work and must support themselves, while a small percentage receive some support from UNHCR partners IOM, JRS, and CWS
People from asylum seekers and refugee communities have many skills including art, IT, teaching, graphic design, photography, clothes making, and music. Even doctors and lawyers.
“Therefore, we created this space for everyone to come together and build a strong foundation and a more humane Indonesia towards fellow human beings, especially refugees,” Febi said