The Australian government has announced that asylum seekers registered with UNHCR in Indonesia after 1 July 2014 will not be eligible for a place in Australia’s humanitarian refugee intake. Moreover, Australia will cut its refugee intake from Indonesia to 450 persons a year.
This announcement has been met with strong criticism from the Indonesian government, who has said that Australia’s decision will place an even greater burden on Indonesia.
Indonesian civil society group SUAKA has also issued a strong statement condemning the decision, noting that the policy places refugees in Indonesia in increasingly difficult conditions given the lack of national legal guarantees to protect refugees.
UNHCR’s Representative in Indonesia has also spoken out against the move by Australia, stressing that unilateral policies by one government will not “solve the problem.” Instead, emphasis must be on developing a regional approach through which countries work together, and not alone.