First we get the requisite sob story: Ebrahim Adam fled armed conflict in his home region of Darfur, Sudan, in 2011, and ended up seeking asylum in Indonesia, hoping to be eventually resettled in Australia or another Western country so he could resume his dream of being an economist. (Yeah, right, because so many Muslims are economists)
Gulf News But after languishing for nearly seven years in Indonesia — where he cannot legally work, access public services or obtain citizenship — Ebrahim recently received bad news: His resettlement is unlikely to ever happen.
The UN Refugee Agency’s office in Indonesia has begun informing the nearly 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia that they should not expect to be welcomed by another country. Instead, they should prepare to assimilate into Indonesian society as best they can, or consider returning to their home countries.
Analysts said Ebrahim faces additional obstacles: He is single, Muslim and of military age, which could make countries worried about terrorism less likely to take him in.
Historically, the chances of refugees ever being resettled are only around 1 per cent. Those refugees residing in Indonesia face the additional obstacle that the United States (now, more than ever before) and Australia, the two main resettlement destinations for refugees here, have put in place more stringent immigration policies, further decreasing their already long odds.
Below are millions of Muslim alleged refugees and asylum seekers that the UN believes the West is obliged to resettle and support for the rest of their lives.
“We are as honest as we can be, and try to explain to them how unpredictable things are,” said Thomas Vargas, head of the UN Refugee Agency office in Indonesia. Vargas added: “In general, resettlement countries were more generous in the past about providing opportunities in this part of the world.”
The situation of refugees hoping for resettlement in the West became more dire after President Donald Trump took office last January. His administration’s travel ban blocks people from eight countries from entering the US, including Somalia, the country with the second-highest number of refugees and asylum seekers stuck in Indonesia.
(Isn’t it time to start resettling these Muslims in the oil-rich Arab Muslim Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia? So far these countries have taken in no Muslim refugees. The West has more than they can handle as it is)
Last year, only about 400 refugees living in Indonesia were resettled in the United States, according to the United Nations. Indonesia is not a signatory to the 1951 UN refugee convention, which prohibits governments from returning people fleeing persecution to areas where they face serious threats, but the country has allowed certified refugees to remain here as they await resettlement in a third country.
Indonesian officials, however, say that permanent resettlement here is not an option. (Why the hell not?) Families, single women with children and unaccompanied minors are given priority for resettlement in the United States and other Western countries among refugees in Indonesia, as they are designated as “most vulnerable,” according to the United Nations. (Not the most vulnerable, the most likely to be welfare-dependent for life)
For years, asylum-seekers from the Middle East and South Asia have used Indonesia as a transit point to reach Australia, boarding rickety wooden boats run by human smugglers for the perilous voyage across the Indian Ocean.
In 2013, however, the Australian government adopted strict new measures to discourage future arrivals by immediately transferring those who made it to its shores to spartan detention centers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, and refusing to ever consider them for resettlement.
Australia has also towed boats packed with asylum-seekers back into Indonesian waters, and has banned the resettlement of refugees who registered with the UN Refugee Agency in Indonesia after July 1, 2014. (Good for Australia)