"We are bored of living like this. We just eat and sleep and are not allowed to find jobs," Basir, a Palestinian refugee, stated.
Medan, North Sumatra (ANTARA) - Refugees from different nations again demonstrated in front of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) here, Thursday, demanding departures to a third country, including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, or Canada.

Ibrahim Basir, a Palestinian refugee, stated that the refugees had been living in Medan for several years, but it appeared as though their cause had been forgotten and that the UNHCR had yet to process matters pertaining to their departure.

"We are bored of living like this. We just eat and sleep and are not allowed to find jobs," he noted.

During their stay in Indonesia, they depend on financial assistance from the UN funds managed by NGOs, the International Organization of Migration (IOM), and UHCR.

Every refugee receives Rp500 thousand (US$35.1) to Rp1.5 million (US$105) on a monthly basis.

The refugees admitted to the money given not being sufficient to live in a big city, such as Medan, when they are not permitted to take up jobs to earn a living.

The refugees expressed ire over donations from other countries being cut by the IOM, and their children not being allowed formal schooling in Indonesia.

In the meantime, Indonesia is currently home to some 14 thousand foreign refugees, mostly coming from Afghanistan, Syria, and Sudan, while some 600 of them are Iraqis.

In Jakarta, on Wednesday (Aug 21), dozens of Iraqi refugees again rallied for justice in front of the UNHCR Jakarta office, with over 15 children vociferously sloganeering, “Resettlement, resettlement, equality, equality.”

The protesters comprised single refugees and some six families, all of whom are from Iraq.

"A person is not born to be a refugee like a child does not grow up and say 'I gonna be a refugee,'" Ibrahim, 23-year-old refugee, told ANTARA.

"We are forced out of our country. We don't choose this," he stated.

These children came when they were a year old, and they do not go to school (until now), he stated.

A family of five children, one of whom was born in Jakarta, joined the demonstration with their parents, brandishing papers printed “We are Iraqis marginalized.”

"I am marginalized. I came here six years ago. My children face an unknown future,” Haydee Alnoori, the 40-year-old father, told Antara.

He noted that the boy, born in Jakarta, had no ID, so he was neither Iraqi nor Indonesian, owing to which his identity was unknown.

The protesters claimed to having negotiated with the UNHCR two weeks back and had ended the demonstration to give it some time, but to no avail, as the officials took no concrete action or gave any promise.

The Iraqi refugees vowed to continue to protest until the time the UNHCR acts in their favor.
Related news: Some 400 foreign refugees hold rally in Tanjungpinang
Related news: Foreign refugees again demonstrate in front of UNHCR Jakarta Office


Translator: Nur A Sitorus, Fardah
Editor: Suharto
Copyright © ANTARA 2019