244th day of peaceful protest from East Lorengau refugees transit center.


#Manus SOS



Image:‏ @sunosi3 [3/4/18]



@D1tVbTzpTOjxmEN : Today's report on the situation of Refugees in Balikpapan detention center for freedom Tuesday 3 / 4 / 2018 ...



‏@D1tVbTzpTOjxmEN [3/4/18]:  77th day of our peaceful protest for freedom in Balikpapan detention center . it is 77 days that we sincerely ask for helping from IOM and UNHCR to be release from detention but the do not care, while they are responsible to us . Why ? We need help ...



@MahdiAlizada18 [3/4/18]:  we imprisoned refugees of Balikpapan are disconected from the world while we are apart of it.



Pressure to return? Afghan refugees protest at Indonesian detention centre [AAN - 3/4/18]:


... UNHCR officials have not commented on the protest publicly.

However, inside the detention centre, they have informed residents that if they continue their protest, they will not be resettled to a third country or placed in a community house, which is a more comfortable form of accommodation.

The use of indefinite detention to punish refugees for participating in a non-violent, peaceful protest goes against UNHCR's standards.

IOM Indonesia have not responded to the author's queries on this, or indeed for other details, either.


In Makassar, further east in southern Sulawesi, the arrival of a new head of community housing in early 2018 marked a deterioration in the treatment of refugees living there. They are no longer allowed to have visitors in their rooms.

A resident at a community house in Makassar who did not want to be named recounted an incident in February during which a resident who was caught with guests in his room was beaten by security guards, and transferred to a detention centre.

Although IOM used to offer vocational and language courses in the city, these programmes were cut in 2017, with only Bahasa Indonesia language courses remaining. Many Afghans at the centre report verbal abuse from staff, who tell them they are ‘like animals’ due to their perceived lack of rights in the country.

UNHCR has told residents that they have no control over how refugees are treated at the centre, as this falls under the jurisdiction of the Indonesian immigration authorities. This led to groups of refugees protesting outside the UNHCR office in Makassar to ask for quicker resettlement or better treatment, although both demands have gone unheeded so far.


While UNHCR and IOM present the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme as an alternative to detention, it is doubtful whether any decision to return made in this context can be truly voluntary.

IOM claims that this programme helps migrants return safely to their country of origin, but it is hard to imagine a safe return for at-risk minority groups such as the Hazara.

As well as being fully informed and not physically coerced, having at least one option that ensures a reasonable level of welfare is an important aspect of a voluntary decision (see this study, pp 631-45).

For Afghans kept in indefinite detention in Indonesia, none of the options presented to them provide a level of welfare that would generally be considered as acceptable. According to IOM Afghanistan figures, 1,478 Afghans returned from Indonesia via the AVRR programme between 2003 and 2016.

By August 2017, IOM had registered 58 voluntary returns from Indonesia for that year. In the case of Balikpapan, Sahil recounts the pressure that centre residents face from a return to Afghanistan, stating that when they complain about their detention, IOM employees tell them “The resettlement process is too long. If you can’t endure it, you can go back to your country.”

Both Sahil and another centre resident said that since 2014, 44 detainees in Balikpapan have accepted this offer.

One returnee said that he would try to flee Afghanistan again as soon as he had enough money, this time to Iran or Pakistan. ...



At least 60 civilians have been killed and many others wounded in Monday’s airstrike in Dasht-i-Archi district of Kunduz province, public representatives claimed on Tuesday. ... [Pajhwok - 3/4/18]



Civilians wounded as dozens of artillery shells land in Kunar province [Khaama - 3/4/18]




Signing the Strategic Partnership Framework with @IOM_news Director General William Lacy Swing  [Image:  ‏@PeterDutton_MP - 28/4/15]



@Aussie4Refugees [1/12/17]: Aus govt withholds survival stats re IOM facilitated deportations



Indonesia Immigration Detention Profile [Global Detention Project]:


... According to academic research findings, from 2011 to 2013 Australia channeled more than $90 million through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for programmes in the region, “including the upgrade and refurbishment of existing detention facilities” in Indonesia. ...



Why Indonesia shows the IOM isn’t helping migrants [News Deeply - 26/10/17]:


... In 2000, IOM, Australia and Indonesia signed a Regional Cooperation Agreement, under which Indonesian police and immigration officials would intercept refugees and asylum seekers thought to be intent on traveling irregularly to Australia.

Those intercepted are detained in 13 detention centers across the Indonesian archipelago, where IOM provides "migrant care management" to those detained.

While Australia claims that it does not directly fund immigration detention in Indonesia, it earmarks funds using the obscure label of "providing care and maintenance to intercepted irregular migrants in Indonesia." ...



What Australia's fanatical "stopping the boats" anti-refugee policy means for people seeking asylum in our region [Academy of Social Sciences in Australia - 2016]:


... While it is widely reported in the media that the number of boats leaving Indonesia for Australia has significantly dropped since the commencement of OSB, NGOs in Indonesia highlight that people seeking asylum have continued to arrive to the country.

While some live in supported shelters or independently in the community, others are locked up in immigration detention centres.

By 2015 there were 33 sites of immigration detention throughout Indonesia.

Australian funding through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has expanded the capacity of this detention network since 2011. ...



Labor Party politicians Plibersek, Marles and Shorten meet with IOM officials in the Marshall Islands to discuss "challenges" of keeping climate change refugees out of Australia [November 2015]



Peter Dutton's biggest defender in the Australian Parliament - Richard Marles - just happens to run into his IOM pal in Myanmar [May 2015 - in the middle of the Rohingya boat crisis]



‏@riserefugee [4/4/18]:  .@thecatempire @AmySharkMusic @Regurgitators @ninalasvegas @Wafiaaa @peaches @megmacmusic @kmillerheidke @thejunglegiants @courtneyact "Australia's visible & invisible structures of white supremacy continues through its refugee policies on Manus & Nauru torture camps" eX-detainee



@riserefugee [1/4/18]:  Remember apartheid? It has been happening in this country for the last 200 years.. No games on stolen land.. No games while our community is being tortured and abused in Australia’s detention centres..



The Queensland Rohingya Community is calling on the Commonwealth of Nations to prevent the genocide on the Rohingyan people of Arakan State in Burma (Myanmar).

'Athletes are competing at the Commonwealth Games while citizens of the former British colony of Burma daily face genocide at home,' Noor Zaman, President of Queensland Rohingya Community Inc, said today.

‘The Queensland Rohingya Community is staging a protest to coincide with the start of the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast to raise awareness of the desperate situation of Rohingya people in Burma,’ he added.

The protest will take place at Pratten Park, Off Margaret Ave, Broadbeach, Gold Coast QLD 4218 at 3.00pm to 5:30pm on Wednesday April 4. ... [Tweed Shire Echo - 3/4/18]



Boat carrying dozens of Rohingya refugees arrives in Malaysia [AFP - 3/4/18]



Bangladesh denies Rohingya were able to escape their miserable camps, as UNHCR displays its selective compassion for boat refugees [Dhaka Tribune - 3/4/18]



@GraffitiExpert [2/4/18]:  IOM-UNHCR anti trafficking/smuggling fanaticism is a pretext for helping convention signatory countries deflect their refugee protection obligations



@GraffitiExpert [17/3/18]:  Australia: NOPE NOPE NOPE and DEAL WITH THE ROHINGYA i.e. it's BIPARTISAN ...



@GraffitiExpert [24/1/18]: The UNHCR has never disputed former People Smuggling Ambassador [now High Commissioner to Malaysia] Andrew Goledzinowski's repeated assertions that they don't want Australia to take refugees who arrive by boat  


...  Goledzinowski said resettlement was raised during the Bangkok meeting on 29 May.

"All who spoke on resettlement said that this was not a durable solution for the Rohingya problem and that it would constitute a pull factor," he told a Senate estimates committee on Wednesday.

"The UNHCR was the most articulate on this point."

He engaged in bilateral meetings with representatives from some of the other 16 countries in attendance, and is adamant that at least one will seek further briefings on adopting Australia’s key asylum seeker measures.

"We also were able to talk a little bit about our own experiences during Operation Sovereign Borders where we've been very successful in disrupting people trafficking and smuggling networks," Goledzinowski said.



1 April 2018