Iraqi refugees again rally before UNHCR Jakarta office

Iraqi refugees again rally before UNHCR Jakarta office

Haydee Alnoori and his wife, alongside with their four kids, one of whom was born in Jakarta, joined the demonstration in front of the UNHCR Jakarta office on Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019. (ANTARA/Alyx Chang)

We have staged rallies since last week and will continue to do so until we receive justice and safe shelter
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Iraqi refugees again demonstrated before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Jakarta office, calling for the UN body to send them to third countries, including Australia, Canada, or the United States.

They earnestly sought assistance of the Indonesian government and UNHCR to assist in arranging their departure.

Khalil, one of the refugees, remarked that most were stranded in Jakarta for five to seven years, but their future yet lacked certainty.

"We have staged rallies since last week and will continue to do so until we receive justice and safe shelter," Khalil, coordinator of the rally, stated.

Some 500 Iraqi refugees are currently in Indonesia and are optimistic of fellow Muslims in Indonesia helping them.

Muammar, another Iraqi, pointed to the quite lengthy asylum-seeking process and no one helping refugees.

"The problem is that we do not have food, support, and education for our children," Muammar, who came to Indonesia in 2013, stated.

They have pinned high hopes on the UNHCR Jakarta office helping to arrange their departure to a third country soon.

The Iraqis refugees had declined to return to their country that remains perilous owing to prolonged conflicts.

Based on the UNHCR data, 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 Indonesia, foreign refugees are found in Jakarta, Pekanbaru, Medan, Tanjung Pinang, Bintan, and Makasar, among others.

While staying in Indonesia, these refugees rely on financial aid 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 foreign refugees stated that the money is far from sufficient. Frustration rides high among these refugees also due to the fact that they are not allowed to find jobs and their children cannot go to schools in Indonesia.

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