This policy paper examines Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No 125 of 2016 on the Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Indonesia, signed by President Joko Widodo on 31 December 2016. This long-awaited regulation reiterates Indonesia’s long-held position on its responsibilities towards asylum seekers and refugees. Perceiving itself as a transit country only, Indonesia attempts to protect refugees but welcomes them only for terminable period. This policy paper analyses the content of this Presidential Regulation, pointing out its strengths and weaknesses, in order to alert policy-makers to the remaining gaps in the protection of refugees. Although it makes some progress in regard to rescuing refugees in emergency situations, our analysis concludes that the Presidential Regulation still lacks substantial commitment to the effective protection of refugees. Rather than offer any durable solution for asylum seekers and refugees staying on in Indonesia, the current policies create ‘permanent temporariness’. Not only are resettlement options in safe third countries shrinking, but voluntary repatriation to their conflict-ridden countries of origin is often not feasible. So long as local integration into the Indonesian society, which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) would like as a third durable solution, is not an option, refugees and asylum seekers will continue to suffer the most in the current stalemate.
Antje Missbach is a senior research fellow at Monash University and a CILIS Associate.
Yunizar Adiputera is a lecturer in International Relations at Universitas Gadjah Mada.
Atin Prabandari is a lecturer in the Department of International Relations at Universitas Gadjah Mada, and also a Research Fellow in the Center for Digital Society, ASEAN Studies Center and Southeast Asia Social Studies Center, all at Universitas Gadjah Mada.
Ganesh Cintika is a researcher at the Institute of International Studies (IIS) at Universitas Gadjah Mada.Frysa Yudha Swastika is an executive secretary of Programme on Humanitarian Action (PoHA) in the Institute of International Studies (IIS) of the Department of International Relations of Universitas Gadjah Mada.
Raditya Darningtyas is a student of International Relations at Universitas Gadjah Mada.