Indonesia has never ratified the 1951 UN Convention on Refugee or its 1967 protocol, but its strategic geographic location has made it a desirable place of transit for Australia, a country that is now a party to the refugee convention. The thousands of would-be asylum seekers are sheltering in Indonesia.
Cisarua (Bogor, West Java) is designated as a temporary residential area for the large number of people seeking refuge or asylum in third country. Most of them are coming from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan. Also some of them are from Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Somalia and Sudan.
Finally I visited Cisarua in the end of last August.
It has been a big motivation for me to concern of refugee issues so long. I appreciate that I could take an action for this issues in Indonesia where has been my base for three years, even it’s a very small action. In Cisarua (West Java), after I looked around the situation though yes that’s just a surface of this huge issues, I could not put away the thinking that here refugee’s life is not so bad, there are many people of Indonesia live with money less than their monthly allowance from IOM, they have no work too. Also there are refugees who are not under IOM and not get monthly allowance or get from another NGOs or using own savings. But now I’m talking about refugees who get certain amount of money. Of course, I should not just focus on after they arrived in Cisarua, they were in terrible situations in each countries and on the way to here. I know that of course, but if I think of this from local Indonesian side, how many local Indonesian people concern about refugee issues in the world? Then I wonder that how local Indonesian people think of them, they might be jealous. However, I do believe that seeking freedom is human’s basic desire/rights, everybody is born for living own free life. How difficult enduring unstable life with doing nothing besides just waiting the result? That’s why many of them are frustrated, even get mental problems, and some of them are being driven to get on boats for heading Australia by paying smugglers to out of frustrations with long process. Through this survey I strongly believe again that seeking freedom is human’s basic desire/rights.
This photo is taken in an community center for Afghan refugees in KL when i visited there in the beginning of last Aug. I have been here several times, some of them who I met 2 years ago moved to Australia and Canada already.