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Plea for Australia to end refugee warehousing in Indonesia

Thursday 9 June 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Indonesia, Regional

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Plea for Australia to end refugee warehousing in Indonesia
Photo: pixabay - Capri23auto

A refugee advocacy group wants Australia to rethink its destructive refugee arrangement with Indonesia as the new Canberra government looks to improve relations with Jakarta.

The group, People Just Like Us, wants to see the creation of a "safe passage" for the nearly 14,000 refugees trapped in Indonesia, largely due to Australian policies that have been in place for years.

Australia accepts just a few dozen refugees each year from Indonesia and the group wants this to increase dramatically.

A spokesperson for the advocacy group, Alfred Pek, said they're calling on Australia to overturn its border policy, accept the refugees stuck in limbo, and create a safe pathway for those in transit.

"At the moment there is just no way for these people to be resettled and a lot of people are still stuck essentially," he said.

"We also want to dismantle essentially the offshore processing centre - something that is not acceptable - we should immediately release these people and give them full permanent protection visa."

Pek said the vast majority of the people stranded in Indonesia had initially been wanting to go to Australia, but now they just want to be resettled.

He said that Australia has a responsibility to take the bulk of these people because it is the state with the power in the region.