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Jakarta Post

NTT to move immigrants to island near Australia

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 15, 2018   /   02:02 pm
NTT to move immigrants to island near Australia Asylum seekers of the Tamil ethnic group from Sri Lanka remain on their boat refusing to leave Lhoknga waters in Aceh Besar regency on June 13. The boat departed on June 12 after receiving food supplies and fuel. However, the immigrants, mostly women and children, returned to Aceh waters asking for more fuel. (Antara/Irwansyah Putra)

The East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) administration is mulling over a plan to relocate hundreds of illegal immigrants living in the capital city of Kupang, on Timor Island, to Ndana Island in Rote Ndao regency, which is adjacent to Australia.

NTT Deputy Governor Joseph Nae Soi said on Monday that the administration was discussing the issue with private parties and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The administration expressed concern that the presence of the 430 immigrants could  trigger social conflict. 

Joseph explained that the majority of immigrants, who hailed from countries in conflict such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, ate healthy and high-priced foods, and in their spare time, went to the gym or shopped in the city’s malls.

“Locals, meanwhile, can only watch the immigrants [living such luxurious lifestyles]. We are afraid this may lead to social conflict,” Joseph said. “Some of the locals might think of becoming immigrants because their cost of living will be borne by the United Nations,” he added, as quoted by Antara.

Therefore, the administration would look for investors willing to build temporary shelters for the immigrants on Ndana Island, a 13-square-kilometer island under the supervision of the Indonesian Military (TNI).

Some of the immigrants are living in hotels across Kupang because the city’s immigrant detention center is full. (vny)