Refugees in Indonesia: Comprehensive Discussions on Perception, Reception, and Coping Mechanisms


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Session 3
Wed 13:30–15:00 Room 1.103


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Indonesia has traditionally been a popular country of transit for the thousands of refugees passing through on their journey to reach Australia or other countries of resettlement. In November 2014, Australia announced that refugees registered after 1 July 2014 in Indonesia would be ineligible for resettlement to Australia. Approximately 14,000 refugees are currently ‘stuck’ in Indonesia, unable to return to their countries of origin, integrate locally in Indonesia, nor move on to resettle to a third country. As a result of declining opportunities for refugees’ resettlement, Indonesia has been forced to transform from being a country of transit to a country of containment.

This panel will address the phenomenon of refugees ‘stuck’ in Indonesia from three different approaches: multi-sited ethnography, individuals’ life stories, and Discourse Historical Approach (DHA). Together, these three papers offer a comprehensive study on refugees living in Indonesia, a country strategically situated on emerging refugees’ migratory trajectory in the Asia Pacific region. They offer important insights into the variety of living experiences that refugees face in detention centres, shelters, and self-funded accommodations located in different urban settings across the archipelago. This panel will contribute to an understanding of how international refugee regimes are domesticated, particularly in the context of Indonesia, a country that continues to abstain from signing the 1951 Convention of Refugee Protection and its 1967 Protocol. Moreover, it furthers a better understanding of movement, stuck-ness, and temporality as experienced by refugees currently living in the Global South.