Asylum seekers to Indonesia up 800 percent
Kuta: The number of asylum seekers entering Indonesia has drastically increased by 800 percent, an expert said.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) office in Indonesia has recorded a significant rise in the number of refugees, up from only 389 in 2008 to 3,230 people in 2009.
“There is an increasing trend in the number of both refugees and asylum seekers coming into Indonesia,” said Mitra Salima Suryono, associate external relations for UNHCR Indonesia during a media gathering at Bali Rani Hotel in Kuta on Friday.
Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers try to flee to other countries to avoid wars and conflicts.
“The number of people coming to Indonesia as refugees and asylum seekers is still small compared with those heading to Pakistan and other Asian countries and Australia,” Mitra said.
Pakistan received 1 million; Iran 800,000; Thailand 100,000; Malaysia 98,000 and Australia 29,000.
There have been 5,752 foreigners arriving in Indonesia in 2012, comprised of 4,552 asylum seekers and 1,180 refugees, many of whom are being processed at immigration detention centers in several cities in Indonesia, mostly cities in West Java.
In Denpasar, there are 83 asylum seekers and refugees. Many are fleeing Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Somalia.
From January to June this year, UNHCR has already returned 70 refugees and asylum seekers to their home countries.