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Summary of Pop Up Discussion Series #1  Introduction: Urban Refugees in Indonesia

admin - Oct 02, 2020 01:33:45 am 14 Views Location - RDI Indonesia YouTube Live
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RDI Urban Refugees Research Group conducted the first series of Pop Up Discussion (PUD) Series on Friday, 14 August 2020. The webinar is one of the eight series discussing urban refugee issues. PUD No.1 featured four speakers, Dr Akino Tahir as the representative from RDI UREF, Yunizar Adiputera MA, an academic from FISIP UGM, Naweed Aieen, a refugee and Director of a learning institution called Hope Learning Center (HLC), and Dr Dave Lumenta, an academic from FISIP UI. This first PUD was moderated by Risye Dwiyani M. Eng.


Dr. Akino Tahir presented a brief introduction of refugees from the urban perspective or urban management, which would be used as a framework for discussing refugee issues for the next four months. The urgency of discussing the refugee issues through the urban perspective is that cities play an important role in refugee management. The emphasis is that if we share the principle of 'City for all', then the refugees should be treated equally and given similar services and protection. Through the pop-up discussion series, RDI UREF hopes that there will be multi-disciplinary and multi-level discussions and dialogues in finding solutions related to refugees and asylum seekers living in urban areas.


Yunizar Adiputera presented an overview of refugee governance from the perspective of the contradiction between sovereignty and humanitarianism, highlighting important points regarding 'border' concept. The border marks the internal and external boundaries of sovereignty, which led to several implications regarding the rights of the state. Fundamentally the two concepts of sovereignity and humanitarianism are not contradictory, but in practice, they are often disputed; hence a discourse that sovereignty exists at the expense of humanitarianism often arise within refugee governance. There is a tug of war between central government agencies and local government. This condition occurs between the immigration and the city government due to different assumptions and knowledge gap about refugees; seeing them as a threat or a group that needs help and protection.  


Naweed Aieen shared information regarding the condition of his family and other refugees in Indonesia. Aieen and other refugees established the Hope Learning Center (HLC) as a platform for providing free services for the refugee community. These services include education, health, cultural learning between refugees from different backgrounds, as well as education-related to Indonesi's culture and the culture of resettlement countries.  HLC consists of 20 volunteer teachers from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq and accommodates around 130 students from Afghanistan, Pakistan Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and Ethiopia. During the pandemic, HLC activities related to education are conducted online. HLC also conducted counselling related to COVID-19, while distributing food and hygiene kits to refugees. They also distribute hygiene kits to local communities and work voluntarily with the locals during flooding. Those activities demonstrate their efforts to integrate with the local community.


Dr Dave Lumenta discussed the process of humanization and decolonization of refugees as a relational form of the local community towards refugees, using an anthropological perspective. He presented two stories to provide an understanding of why there are many categories generated under migration regimes. These categories do not provide solutions for the most common human problems because there are various reasons which motivate people to move from one place to another. Meanwhile, the current global structure is not designed to accommodate basic human needs. The collaborative music project between Oromo refugees and his students is a form of collaboration as well as exploration outside the existing humanitarian system, which implies the discovery of various other possibilities in which not to see them merely as a group of refugees or different categories created by the states - decolonization process. The project is an example of finding opportunities for a different form of humanitarian intervention that is complementary to the existing systems.

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