Myanmarese Rohingya asylum seekers obtain UNHCR refugee cards
Fourteen Myanmarese Rohingya Muslim asylum seekers who were detained by the Kupang Immigration Office on Friday obtained UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee cards when they fled their country.
“We have just found out that the asylum seekers have obtained the UNHCR cards, which confirms their status as refugees rather than merely illegal immigrants. However, they don’t have other legal immigration documents. We will keep them under our custody anyway,” said Kupang Immigration office head Silvester Sililaba on Saturday.
The asylum seekers, comprised of 12 males, two females and two babies, said that they had been staying in Indonesia since February this year. They were previously sheltered at the Medan immigration detention center but managed to escape last week.
“We want to go to Australia to seek asylum. A middleman from Medan had promised us that he could bring us to Australia if we paid him Rp 10 million for each person,” said refugee Dildarus Muhammad.
Unfortunately, the middleman disappeared as soon as they reached Kupang. “We actually don’t want to leave our land, but the situation is deteriorating. We cannot take it anymore,” he said.
Dildarus said that other asylum seekers died on the way to Medan, while others had already successfully reached Australia. (lfr)