The number of boat people entering Indonesia is continuing to rise every year. The continuing flow arrives in the immense South-East Asian archipelago as a gateway toward their final destination, Australia’s coasts, despite the harsh policies adopted in regard at the end of last year by Canberra.
A tendency that has escalated over the years, due both to the heightened Middle East conflict fronts, but also persecutions and absence of opportunities. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) data, in 2008, the number of refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia totaled only 385 people, increasing dramatically to 3,230 people by 2010, and registering a recent peak with the latest figure being 8,332 people in 2013.
“Since the beginning of the year through March, the total number of refugees and asylum seekers that caught the attention of the UNHCR in Indonesia had reached 10,623. This number is guaranteed to continue to rise until the end of the year”, confirmed the UNHCR’s external relations officer, Mitra Salima Suryono.
The majority arrive from Afghanistan, followed by Myanmar, Iran, Somalia and Sri Lanka, seeking opportunities and security in Australia and New Zealand, which are favourite destinations among the 26 destination nations under accords with the government of Jakarta. Only few of the refugees and asylum seekers actually reach their chosen destination, including the 800 refugees that the UNHCR sent to Australia and New Zealand.
Others remain blocked in Indonesia or are are turned back by the Australian coast guard, and often even sent to detention centers set up by the Canberra government in accord with Papua New Guinea and Nauru authorities.