Jakarta to cease humanitarian assistance for refugees by August-end

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Speaker of the Jakarta provincial parliament Prasetio Edi Marsudi confirmed that the Jakarta administration will put a halt to its humanitarian aid for refugees by the end of August.

"The Provincial House of Representatives has invited the provincial government, UNHCR, and IOM on Wednesday to discuss issues on asylum seekers. We have agreed that after August 31, they are not our responsibility anymore, but we return it to the UNHCR," Prasetio noted here on Thursday.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) should have shouldered responsibility to take care of the refugees, with the central government's assistance, he pointed out.

"We have urged the UNHCR and IOM to help repatriate these refugees to their countries of origin since we lack the capability," he explained.

The Jakarta Social Affairs Office has accommodated some 1,500 refugees at a former building of the West Jakarta military command (Kodim) in Kalideres, West Jakarta. The total number of refugees in Jakarta has reached 14 thousand, of which some eight thousand have been handled by the IOM.

"We have supported them for 41 days. If this were to be continued, we would not have adequate funding," Prasetio cautioned.

Prasetio opined that meeting UNHCR's demand for the government to allow refugees to work in Indonesia will only create a new problem.

"That will be a new problem since (the refugees) will think that it is easy to find a job in Indonesia. The decision now lies in the hands of the UNHCR and IOM. If they want to return home, the IOM can help to repatriate them. If they want to be resettled in a third country, go ahead," he stated.

The provincial government will move out of the former building of the West Jakarta military command (Kodim) in Kalideres on Aug 31.

Since Wednesday (Aug 21), it has stopped the distribution of logistics, water, and health support for 1,192 refugees from different nations sheltered in the building

The UNHCR, which should have borne the responsibility of tending to the refugees, acknowledged that it faced limitations in helping the refugees and called on the government to allow them to work in Indonesia.

Source: ANTARA News

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