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Jakarta Post

Indonesia’s transformed stance toward refugees, asylum seekers

  • Catherine Pagliaro

Bandung   /   Tue, December 3 2019   /  01:29 am

JP/Hotli SimanjuntakThe issue of refugees and asylum seekers traveling to Australia from Indonesia has long been a sensitive aspect of the countries’ bilateral relationship. To ameliorate its frustrations, Australia has actively sought to mold Indonesia’s foreign and domestic policies on this issue. However under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Indonesia appears to be distancing itself from Australia and devising policy solutions independently.In Australia, the issue of “unauthorized boat arrivals” is a divisive political issue that has continuously decided electoral outcomes since the Tampa Affair of 2001, when Australia refused entry to Norwegian cargo ship MV Tampa after it rescued 438 people, mostly Afghan asylum seekers, from an Indonesian fishing boat 140 kilometers northwest of Christmas Island. Canberra has adopted a “tough on asylum seekers” approach, deploying p...