Number of asylum seekers to Indonesia continues to rise

Number of asylum seekers to Indonesia continues to rise

Several of illegal assylum seekers from Lebanon as their boat was sink off coast of Cianjur, West Java. 25 was alive while 3 in critical situation, and 17 died at the sea. (ANTARA FOTO/Wingki)

... 10,623 recorded in March 2014, 7,218 are asylum seekers while the rest 3,405 are refugees... "
Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Silently, the number of asylum seekers and refugees to Indonesia has always increased from year to year reaching 10,623 until March 2014, according to UNHCR Indonesia.

"Although it is not their main choice and not a country that has ratified asylum policy the number of refugees and asylum seekers coming to Indonesia always increases every year," UNHCR Indonesia public information officer Mitra Salima Suryono said here on Thursday.

The refugees and asylum seekers come from countries like Afghanistan, Somalia and Iran.

He said in 2008 the number of asylum seekers coming to the country was recorded at only 385 but in 2013 it soared to 8,332.

Of the 10,623 recorded in March 2014, 7,218 are asylum seekers while the rest 3,405 are refugees.

The refugees and asylum seekers have been accommodated in immigration detention centers as well as privately-managed centers in various places.

"Because Indonesia has no obligation to handle the refugees or asylum seekers it is the UNHCR that has so far handled them and therefore it has spread its staff to various regions," he said.

He said Indonesia has been used as one of their destination countries because of its strategic location which is close to their final destinations.

Although the number of refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia has continued to increase it is still below that of Thailand which has reached around 200,000.

UNHCR Indonesia in 2013 already placed around 800 people in several third countries such as Australia and the US.

He said Australia has so far been the one that has received the most refugees/asylum seekers.

He said the process of their placement or deportation so far has been done by UNHCR Indonesia following investigation and evaluation in cooperation with the recipient countries and countries of origin.

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