Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants
Photo Credit: UNHCR
Niniek Karmini - Associated Press
Asylum seekers stranded for years in Indonesia have rallied in the capital urging the UN refugee agency to speed up their resettlement in third countries.
Dozens of people from war-torn nations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia called on the UNHCR to accelerate their resettlement on Monday, saying they could no longer bear to live in limbo and without jobs.
They waved banners reading "Refugees are human" and "Save us" during the rally at the refugee agency's office in Jakarta. Some chanted "Process, process!"
"Waiting for more than four years here without resettlement is absolutely terrible," said 19-year-old protester Mahdi Rezaee from Afghanistan, where scores of ethnic Hazaras like himself have been captured, tortured and killed by Islamic militants.
Indonesia is home to nearly 14,000 men, women and children seeking resettlement in other countries, according to the UNHCR.
About 7500 have been recognised as refugees, giving them the prized UN card that inches them closer to realising their dreams of a better life.
But last year, just 610 were resettled in other countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany and New Zealand.
Another protester, 30-year-old Mohammed Akbar, who has held a UN refugee card for three years, said he is struggling to feed his family and still does not know when he will be resettled to another country.
Indonesia, a poor country of more than 250 million people, is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, and the government does not allow asylum seekers to work or have access to schools and public hospitals.