Academic journal article Refuge

Accommodating Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Indonesia: From Immigration Detention to Containment in "Alternatives to Detention"

Academic journal article Refuge

Accommodating Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Indonesia: From Immigration Detention to Containment in "Alternatives to Detention"

Article excerpt


Considered the last 'stepping stone' before Australia, Indonesia plays an important role in immobilising secondary movements of asylum seekers and refugees in Southeast Asia. While migration scholarship has dedicated substantial attention to immigration detention and the deplorable living conditions inside immigration detention centres (IDCS), this article explores "alternatives to detention" (ATD) in two Indonesian localities: the city of Makassar and the province of Aceh. Seeking to contribute to a critical examination of ATD more generally, this article examines individual freedom, mobility, mechanisms of care and aid provision, protection of rights, self-determination, and matters of personal safety. The article illustrates the remaining limitations and the lack of rights that asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia continue to face outside of IDCS. A durable solution, in the form of integration, is not available to asylum seekers and refugees, as they are prevented from integrating into the local host societies, and their social and economic mobility remains widely restricted. Yet at the same time, despite more physical mobility in ATD, asylum seekers and refugees remain contained within Indonesia as their onward movement remains deterred as well.


Consideree comme le dernier tremplin vers l'Australie, l'Indonesie joue un role important pour bloquer les mouvements secondaires des demandeurs d'asile et des refugies en Asie du Sud-Est. Tandis que les etudes sur la migration se sont beaucoup focalisees sur la la detention des immigrants et les conditions de vie deplorables dans les les centres de detention des immigrants (CDI), cet article explore des alternatives a la detention (AD) a deux endroits d'Indonesie: la ville de Makassar et la province d'Aceh. A des fins plus generales de contribution critique sur les CDI, il etudie la liberte individuelle, la mobilite, les mecanismes de soins et les dispositions d'aides, a protection des droits, l'autodetermination, et les questions de securitepersonnelle. II illustre enfin les limites persistantes et le manque de droits auxquelsfont toujours face, en Indonesie, les demandeurs d'asile et les refugies a lexterieur des CDI. Dufait qu'on les empeche de s'integrer aux societes hotes locales et que leur mobilite sociale et economique est extremement limitee, on ne leur offre pas de solution durable sous la forme d'une integration. En depit d'une certaine mobilite physique dans le cadre des ad, les demandeurs d'asile et les refugies restent confines a l'interieur de l'Indonesie dufait qu'on les decourage egalement d'aller de l'avant.


In June 2013, Human Rights Watch published a damning report entitled Barely Surviving: Detention, Abuse, and Neglect of Migrant Children in Indonesia, which highlighted the situation of hundreds of incarcerated minor asylum seekers and refugees in immigration detention centres (IDCS); it also provided insights into the more general situation of almost 13,000 adult asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia at the time. (1) Primary responsibility for the lack of protection, maltreatment, and abuse in detention was attributed to the Indonesian government, (2) but Human Rights Watch attributed secondary responsibility to the Australian government, which had long provided substantial funding to the Indonesian immigration detention system in order to deter the irregular onward movement of those immobilized people to Australia. (3) Exactly one year later, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) introduced a new global strategy, "Beyond Detention 2014-2019," to help governments cease detaining asylum seekers and refugees. The three main goals agreed under this strategy are "(1) to end the detention of children; (2) to ensure that alternatives to detention (ATD) are available in law and implemented in practice; and (3) to improve conditions of detention, where detention is necessary and unavoidable, to meet international standards. …

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