Indonesia not yet ready to ratify convention on refugees

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is not yet ready to ratify the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Director of Human Rights (HAM) and Humanitarian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dicky Komar said.

"So far, there has been no collective agreement in Indonesia about it, so we have not ratified the Vienna Convention on Refugees," Dicky Komar said here Wednesday.

The statement was delivered during the National Consultative of Human Rights Treaty Bodies and Mechanisms Universal Periodic Review of the Directorate of Human Rights and Humanitarian of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A mechanism to ratify various international conventions must be through discussion and agreement among ministries and agencies in Indonesia, Komar remarked.

"Any ratification conventions, including the 1951 Convention on Refugees should be discussed among ministries and agencies in Indonesia. This is a collective decision," he said.

The Indonesian government earlier sought the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to jointly accelerate the handling of refugees and asylum seekers that are currently residing in Indonesia.

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi voiced the matter while receiving a courtesy call from Assistant for the UNHCR High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk, according to a press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta Wednesday.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the Regional Ministerial Conference on the 6th "Bali Process" on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons, and Transnational Crime or BRMC VI in Bali Tuesday.

"As a transit country, Indonesia lauds the role and support of the UNHCR in handling the refugees," noted the foreign minister in a joint press statement.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marsudi also stressed the importance of the Bali Process Conference to find a comprehensive solution to the issue of irregular migrants.

At the meeting, the two officials also discussed cooperation to find solutions to the root cause of irregular migrants in the region, both in the affected countries and the international community, based on the burden-sharing principle and shared responsibility.

Based on data from the UNHCR, until February 2016, a total of 13,829 migrants, comprising 7,560 asylum seekers and 6,269 refugees who came from 44 countries, were residing in Indonesia.

There are 1,030 refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar, including those that arrived in Aceh in May 2015, according to the record.

Refugees and asylum seekers are provided shelter at 13 immigration detention centers (Rudenim) scattered across Indonesia.