Afghans in Indonesia protest the slow UN resettlement process

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Hundreds of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers living in Indonesia gathered outside the UN refugee agency’s office in Jakarta on Monday to urge their resettlement.

They held large banners reading “Our families are in danger. Please act now “and” Re-enter refugees and save lives “during the demonstration in front of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Some children of asylum seekers joined the demonstration and held banners in their hands.

Bibi Rahima Farhangdost, 31, said she quit her teaching job in the Afghan province of Ghazni and came to Indonesia in 2014 after the Taliban ordered her not to work outside the home.

He said he received a refugee card from UNHCR in 2016, but there have been no further actions for his resettlement since then.

“I’m only staying home because I can’t work here. I feel disappointed. Eight years is a very long time, “he said.

Indonesia is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention and the government does not allow asylum seekers to work or have access to schools or public hospitals. It is surrounded by countries hosting large numbers of asylum seekers and refugees such as Malaysia, Thailand and Australia.

As of December 2020, nearly 14,000 refugees from 50 countries were registered in Indonesia, most of them Afghan refugees.

Many asylum seekers have fled to Indonesia as a starting point to reach Australia by boat. Since 2013, the Australian government has sent ships, often barely seaworthy, back to Indonesian waters.

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