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Wrap-Up of Pop Up Discussion Series #6 Urban Refugee Governance in ASEAN Countries

admin - Nov 16, 2020 10:41:01 am 4 Views Location - RDI Indonesia YouTube Live
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The sixth installment of the PUD series was held on 23 October 2020. Dr. Akino Tahir acted as the host, and Dr. Nino Viartasiwi was the moderator. This features four speakers, Hui Ying Tham-representative of Asylum Access Malaysia, Katchada Prommachan, a representative of HOST International Thailand, Zico Pestalozzi as a representative from SUAKA Indonesia, and Antje Missbach, an academic from Freiburg University.


  • he first speaker, Hui Ying Tham, begins by explaining that urban refugees depend on the context they are living in. All of the refugees are urban refugees because Malaysia doesn't have refugee camps and live in different parts of Malaysia. She further explains that the right status to stay or the legal status is one of the most important things. Without recognition or any form of status, such as the basic recognition of being able to move around, refugees are subject to be arrested or to be detained and unable to access anything (e.g., livelihood and education).


  • Katchada Prommachan discusses the situation of urban refugees in Thailand. Most people know that the state has resettlement camps and those camps are along Myanmar border, in which the majority of Burmese people live in that facility under the Ministry of Interior. The most pressing issue in urban refugee governance, Katchada explains that it is related to urban refugee's relatively new concept for Thailand's central and local governments. Urban refugees have different conditions compared to economic migrants. Local people don't understand that even though refugees don't have access to work, they can stay in Thailand. But the situation without the right to generate income makes it difficult to live in Bangkok. If their existence is not being acknowledged, it will lead to difficulties in providing protection for the refugees.


  • Zico Pestalozzi explains the most pressing issue regarding urban refugee governance in Indonesia is the regulation itself. Presidential regulation is merely a standard operational procedure; it only covers what to do when refugees are stranded or being found in the territory and how to register and to put them in shelters. The supervision is limited on how to "protect the refugees". There has been no further provision regarding how to access education, health care systems, or livelihood activities. In Indonesia, all refugees live in urban areas. However, not all urban refugees are covered in system that enables them to receive support from organization (e.g. IOM) or supervision under the immigration.


  • Antje Missbach provides insights about the transitory context of urban refugees in Southeast Asia. Antje begins with a brief explanation regarding 'transit' term.  The term is often a metaphor and idea of a person arriving in a certain place with the intention of leaving, with the period in between is going to be relatively short. However, there's no precise definition regarding that period. Nevertheless, conditions have changed due to both internal and external factors. The latter has determined movements of asylum seekers and also the deadlock in these movements, status, as well as the impacts on Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

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