The third seminar in the Statelessness Seminar Series took place on 23 August, and was presented by Dr Harriot Beazley from the University of the Sunshine Coast.
“The Lived Experiences of Children of Transnational Migrants in Lombok, Indonesia”
In contemporary Indonesia economic forces have led to a significant rise in transnational labour, with an accompanying surge in family fragmentation. Policies on transnational labour migration, however, do not adequately consider the rights of children of migrant workers, including their right to an official identity and to protection in a family environment. This seminar discusses how the lack of accessibility to birth registration for children of migrant parents on the island of Lombok, Eastern Indonesia, has resulted in considerable risks for children left behind by their migrant parents. These risks include being unable to access entitlements associated with citizenship, being regarded as de facto stateless, and being exposed to numerous child protection issues while their parents are overseas. Drawing on the results of child-focussed research with children and young people in rural Lombok the paper reveals children’s lived experiences while their parents are away, and the deep feelings they articulate about their parents’ sustained absence. A prominent issue that emerged from the research was how children of migrants are entangled in a multigenerational pattern of undocumented and unsafe migration, leading to inter-generational statelessness. Some children described how they felt they were in some sort of limbo, waiting for something to happen, which included waiting until they were old enough to migrate themselves. By concentrating on children’s own views and experiences, the paper contributes to current debates about the implications of migration and statelessness in the Southeast Asia region.
Dr Harriot Beazley is a human geographer and community development practitioner with a passion for rightsbased research with children and young people. She is Program Coordinator (International Development) and Senior Lecturer (Human Geography) at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Harriot’s research interests are directed towards childfocussed participatory research in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. Her PhD (ANU) research was ethnographic research on the geographies and identities of street children in Indonesia. Since then she has consulted as a technical advisor to AusAID, UNICEF, DEFRA (UK), Save the Children and DFAT on a variety of child protection, social inclusion and gender issues. Harriot has conducted research and published widely on street children in Indonesia and Cambodia, the physical and emotional punishment of children in Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia, the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Indonesia, children’s experiences in orphanages after the tsunami in Aceh, children in prison in Indonesia, and the impact of transnational migration on children in Lombok, Indonesia. Harriot is a member of the Research Forum of the International Consortium for Street Children, and is Commissioning Editor for the Journal Children's Geographies.