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September 15, 2021

Deal with Refugees and Asylum Seekers, DGI Plans Policy Redesign

Wednesday, 15 September 2021, 14:00 WIB
Reporter: Ajeng Rahma Safitri
Editor: Muhammad Fijar Sulistyo

JAKARTA - The Directorate General of Immigration or DGI is hosting the Coordination Meeting on Handling Refugees and Asylum Seekers Actual Issues on Wednesday (15/09/2021). The meeting initiated by the Directorate of Immigration Cooperation (Ditkermakim) is a follow-up to the Timpora (Foreign Nationals Supervision Team) meeting regarding Refugees and Asylum Seekers on Friday (10/09/2021). This event involved several strategic speakers such as the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the International Organization for Immigration (IOM).

"To maintain the upholding of the sovereignty of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia without compromising the fulfillment, protection, and respect for human rights, it is deemed necessary to formulate a regulation that legally binds foreigners with the status of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. So that they do not have immunity when fronted with a legal problem in Indonesia," said Acting Director General of Immigration, Widodo Ekatjahjana, in his remarks.

Opening the speaker presentation session, the Head of the Extraordinary Crime Management Division of the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Police Grand Commissioner Murry Wiranda, said that the current crisis in Afghanistan opens up opportunities for the country's refugees to flee to Indonesia.

The possibility of repatriation is increasingly impossible, and they demand to be settled in a third country. Currently, 78 countries are willing to become resettlement countries, including Australia, starting to open up.

"Therefore, the Foreign Refugee Task Force of the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs recommends the Directorate General of Immigration to evaluate the visa exemption policy. And also conduct a clearinghouse forum (checking procedure) on Afghan nationals who intend to enter the Indonesian territory," he said.

Statistical data from the Directorate of Human Rights and Humanity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows that as many as 86% of the 82.4 million refugees at the global level are accommodated in developing countries. Apart from adding to the state's burden, this can also increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission. Responding to this, the Head of UNHCR Indonesia, Ann Maymann, said that her organization is trying to advocate with the Covid-19 vaccination donor countries and discuss the issue with the Ministry of Health.

"We still find some challenges in conducting Covid-19 vaccinations for refugees and asylum seekers. However, we are trying to provide them access to the Covid-19 vaccination through a cooperation scheme using the UNHCR Identification Card," said Ann.

On the other hand, refugees and asylum seekers are facilitated with accommodation, daily needs, health services, to emergency assistance for arrivals by sea from IOM. The organization also plans to run a task force in areas that will receive refugees and asylum seekers arriving by sea.

One of the crucial things to pay attention to for continuing this meeting is regulations for refugees and asylum seekers who commit criminal activity in Indonesia. It is expected that the improvement of immigration policies can function without overlapping with international law by prioritizing state sovereignty and national security.

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