"We did not expect more foreign refugees. The increase in number was due to births. This year, 14 (refugee) babies were born in Pekanbaru," Sigalingging remarked here on Friday.
Head of the Immigration Division of Riau's Law and Human Rights Office Mujiyono stated that the government had stepped up surveillance to thwart the entry of more foreign refugees into the region.
Mujiyono noted that the number of foreign refugees had reached 998 in Riau and were held at eight detention houses in Pekanbaru City and Kampar District.
"We have tightened surveillance. We already have 998 refugees here, and we do not want more except that they were born here," he remarked.
Related news: Foreign child refugees in Pekanbaru to be immunized at schools
Indonesia has, since long, hosted foreign refugees on humanitarian grounds despite having yet to ratify the 1951 UN Convention relating to the status of refugees.
President Joko Widodo has issued Presidential Regulation No. 125 of 2016 on foreign refugees to tackle the issue.
According to data of the UN High Commissioner on Refugee (UNHCR), the number of foreign refugees in Indonesia had reached over 13,900, who had attempted to reach a third country, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
Some of the refugees have stayed in Indonesia for over five years. Related news: Stranded Rohingya immigrants moved to Gepeng Langsa orphanage
Related news: Rohingya immigrants still accommodated at Langsa immigration office
EDITED BY INE