UNHCR is obliged to find a country that is willing to accommodate the final status of the refugees
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Government has responded to the suggestion of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ratify the Refugee Convention 1951 overcome the problem of refugees. While Indonesia has agreed to do so, it has stated that the suggestion was not a way to resolve all problems of refugees who were in transit in the country.

"UNHCR is obliged to find a country that is willing to accommodate the final status of the refugees," Acting Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Fazasyah said here Friday.

Indonesia is not a party or a signatory to the Convention concerning the Status of Refugees, also known as the Refugee Convention 1951.

The Convention is a multilateral agreement that defines refugee status and establishes individual rights to obtain asylum and the responsibility of the country that grants it.

Efforts made by the Indonesian government, especially the regional government, to help refugees who transit in Indonesia are temporary and based on humanitarian principles and not obligations, Fazasyah stated.

"As long as we are able to provide assistance, we are not under any obligation," he said.

Regarding the final destination of the refugees who are also parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Indonesian government continues to appeal to the governments of these countries to carry out their obligations because they have ratified the convention, according to Fazasyah.

As a friendly country, Indonesia can appeal to Australia to absorb refugees in one area even though Indonesia is not authorized to do so since that authority lies with the UNHCR, he added.

In the last few days, hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan held rallies in front of the representative office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Jakarta. They demanded that they be immediately placed in other countries. The fate of a majority of refugees from Afghanistan now in Indonesia is unclear.

Translator: Eliswan Azly
Editor: Bambang Purwanto
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