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After the boats have stopped: Refugees stranded in Indonesia and Australia’s containment policies

News and Press Release
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Asher Hirsch

There are over 14,000 refugees living in limbo in Indonesia. Many came to Indonesia seeking to reach Australia or be resettled to another safe country. However, since the beginning of Australia’s Operation Sovereign Borders in 2013, and the reduction of resettlement options, many have found themselves stranded, without basic rights.

There are few solutions for refugees in Indonesia. While refugees are able to stay on a temporary basis, Indonesia does not allow refugees to settle down and build a new life.
Refugees in Indonesia are not allowed to work, have only minimal healthcare or social support, and may face arbitrary detention and destitution. Many refugees face prolonged delays as they wait for resettlement, and without any longer-term solutions on the horizon, some may feel there is no viable alternative but to return home, even where they will face danger.

This brief provides an overview of Australia’s role in stopping refugees leaving Indonesia en route to Australia, and highlights the precarious situation refugees now face in Indonesia.