Asylum seekers in Indonesia: don't come, don't stay, don't go

Antje Missbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article sheds light on asylum seekers and refugees living in Indonesia. The majority of these people only intend to transit the archipelago en route to Australia but end up staying mid- to long-term as regular resettlement processes are slow and irregular onward migration is prevented by increasingly vigorous border controls. The Indonesian government does not welcome the presence of such people, but tolerates them as long as they are under the auspices of the UNHCR or the IOM. Given the rising numbers of asylum seekers coming to Indonesia, the responsible bodies are facing more challenges in processing their asylum claims, housing them and managing their resettlement or return. Long waiting times have also created larger demands for the services of people smugglers, which in turn places additional burdens on Indonesia as a temporary host country. This article argues that the Indonesian government needs to develop an independent strategy for handling asylum seekers. If Indonesia does not only want to be the implementer of the policies set in Australia, it can no longer resort to a laissez faire attitude but needs to build up a more pro-active response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290 - 307
Number of pages18
JournalIndonesian Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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