As part of our accompaniment of persons in need, JRS Indonesia provides direct services to asylum seekers and refugees in immigration detention centers.

About 1.000 Asylum Seekers and Refugees are held over many months in Indonesian Immigration Detention Centers suffering stress and depression during the long waiting in uncertainty, confinement, and without contact to loved ones. In the past, incidents of severe depression and self-harm occurred.

JRS accompaniment of asylum seekers and refugees in Immigration Detention Centers includes befriending them by listening to their concerns, needs, and hopes.

JRS aims to to facilitate communication between the detainees and immigration staff preventing the escalation of tensions between them. By being present JRS listens not only to detainees but also to immigration staff and helps clarifying and communicating concerns from both sides to each other. JRS communications is guided by an appeal for compassion, the promotion of humanitarian values and based in the rights of forcibly displaced people.

IDC Medan, in Belawan North Sumatera: since September 2009

JRS Indonesia team visits detainees on a regular basis providing psychosocial and sport activities in and outside the immigration detention center with the aim to improving physical and mental health of detainees. Despite the center currently running overcapacity, levels of stress and depression are low and recently no case of severe depression or self-harm occurred. Our program allows detainees to spend more time outside of their cells participating yoga or aerobic and even to leave the center for some activities including Soccer and Swimming.

IDC Surabaya, in Bangil-Pasuruan, East Java: since October 2011

JRS Indonesia team regularly visits detained asylum seekers and refugees, listens to their concerns, and facilitates meetings with staff of the center. It also plans to provide self-development training for IDC staff.


Grace, Information Advocacy Officer for JRS Manado

My Experience with Jesuit Refugee Service

I have learnt many things since I join JRS. Meeting with refugees and asylum seekers shows me how important it is to always have hope, even in the most difficult situation. Continue reading


A Journey of an Iraqi Survivor

I was born in Baghdad, Iraq. It was a beautiful country, the place of the holy messengers. My country is bleeding since 2003. It became like hell. The people of my country are divided into many groups based on religion and ethnicity, which lead them to fight each other and kill for nothing more than worldly pleasure. Continue reading

Segar sehari di taman safari

Refreshment for a Day

On 17 November, life became normal again for a few hours for 10 asylum seekers and refugees detained in Immigration Detention Center (IDC) Surabaya. Spending a day at the Safari Park, sitting in nature, observing animals, to be with many people and eat in a restaurant is a luxury for them. Continue reading

Dionisius Waskita, inspired by the perseverance of the refugees and asylum seekers whom he assisted.

Dion’s Empathy

Dion is a staff of JRS Indonesia who is assigned at Manado project to assist asylum seekers in Manado Immigration Detention Centre (IDC). On 29th January 2015, a radio interview with Dion was initiated by Father Rheinner Saneba Pr and Montini Radio Manado 106 FM. Continue reading


Something to look forward to during the ‘Long Wait’

“I am very happy with this activity. I can see the outside world and reduce the boredom after months in immigration detention,” stated a Somali refugee awaiting resettlement. Continue reading

Vegetable garden in an Immigration Detention Center

Seeds of Hope in a Place of Desperation

This gardening experience shows that when given the opportunity detainees will use their creativity, skill and craftsmanship that at the end benefits not only themselves but also others around them. Being able to form and shape ones surrounding making it more beautiful and useful is a longing of every human being. Being able to leave ones legacy in even such a desolate place like a detention center is empowering. To see things grow is a worthy alternative to just counting the endless days hoping for a safer and more dignified future. The results of the detainees’ efforts are also appreciated by the staff of the immigration detention center. Continue reading

Refugee strengthening computer skills through JRS education project.

Contributing to The Community, a Part of a Life in Dignity

A summary of Catholic Sosial Teaching on participation reminds us that: “All people have a right to participate in the economic, political, and cultural life of society. It is a fundamental demand of justice and a requirement for human dignity that all people be assured a minimum level of participation in the community. It is wrong for a person or a group to be excluded unfairly or to be unable to participate in society.” Continue reading

JRS staff listening to the story of Refugee

An Encounter of Endless Mutual Learning

In JRS, we are called to accompany displaced people by opening ourselves and sharing our lives with them. But sharing can be difficult. In addressing the profound difficulties that detained refugees and asylum seekers experience, TAKA GANI describes the challenges she experienced, as well as the wisdom she gained, from accompanying a young man in an immigration detention centre. Continue reading


The Most Important Thing for Me Is My Life Is Safe and Peaceful

‘I am going to die here’ thought Dinesh when drifting on a wooden boat between Indonesia and Australia. The engine broke down in the middle of the Indian Ocean leaving destiny in the hands of the current and ferocious waves . For days Dinesh did not eat and could only drink water from the rain. Together with dozens of fellow passengers he grow weak from hunger and fear. Men, women, and children had to face the danger of death at sea. Continue reading

Children learning English in detention

I Have Been Displaced since I Was Five Years Old

Recently Musa was granted refugee status by UNHCR after they found that Musa’s life will be in danger if he returns home. After 20 years of restlessness and fear Musa is finally able to apply for resettlement to Australia; his first real chance to leave behind threats to be uprooted over and over again, detained, jailed, injured or killed. This is a glimpse of hope for him, in what can be described as a hard life so far. Continue reading

Seorang anak yang ditampung di Rudenim

Immigration Detention is No Place for Children

Children who experience trauma due to displacement need special attention to help to overcome traumatic experiences and be able to heal. Releasing children from Detention Centers is an important first step that has to be done as soon as possible. Detaining innocent children with traumatic experiences should never happen again, not to Aminah’s child or any other child in the world. Indonesia should lead in this effort to stop immigration detention of children, now Continue reading

Deteni dengan gembira berbagi meskipun dari balik jeruji

What We Can Learn from Asylum Seeker in Detention

If the asylum seekers from far away, who have never known us before, are willing to share their heart and love even in these difficult circumstances, then this should be encouragement for us to get to know them and care for them Continue reading

Refugee locked up behind bars in a detention centre

God is Calling Us through These People

“I left my children in Afghanistan. I miss them every day. I am doing this for the sake of my family because I love them,” said one asylum seeker who was wanted by armed forces in Afghanistan and did not want his family to suffer the danger with him.

Through sharing the human grief and hardship with refugees and asylum seekers, God touches our hearts and calls on us to find Him. As Pedro Arrupe SJ expressed his faith, “God is calling us through these people”. Continue reading

A Detainee expressing his content through painting on the wall of his cell

When Differences Disappear

Held in Immigration Detention Centers the fate of asylum seekers and refugees is not much different from that of criminals. They are confined behind iron bars, deprived of their freedom of movement, limited contact to loved ones and with a lack of activities. This situation may last for years without any sign of when this would end. After all, asylum seekers and refugees have not committed any criminal acts. They are just following their hearts in search for freedom, safety, friendship and dignity. In midst the extremely limited situation in detention, a small and modest experience can cherish freedom, compassion, friendship and dignity. Continue reading

A Child in Detention Center

Stop Detention of Children

 “We had no choice but to secretly leave our house. My wife is still left behind in Sri Lanka. We are afraid that they will try to abduct and kill us. I’m most afraid of them abducting my son from … Continue reading

Sr. Anna & Sr. Happy visiting detenees twice a week

Our Day Is Different With Your Presence

Our day is different with your presence… I have three girls what a problem! I have only one son… Terimakasih Ka!   Thanks for your visit…Come next time…Pray for us It’s ok even if you don’t bring anything for us, … Continue reading

Parish Members learned about Refugee via Film

May The Seeds Flourish

“The asylum seekers detained at the Immigration Detention House (Rudenim) in Bangil have a strong will and desire to reach the Promised Land to be able to enjoy freedom and build up a new life. It’s for them that the … Continue reading


When Hope is All That Remains

Today, more than one million four hundred thousand Rohingya, one of Myanmars ethnic and religious minority groups, have been scattered in various countries such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, Srilanka, Middle East and Indonesia. Rohingya people were forced to leave their country of origin, Myanmar, because the development of the political situation is increasingly discriminatory and inhuman. Continue reading

Kedalaman dan keindahan di mata sang pecinta

Pearls of Life

Since one year now my friends and I are visiting asylum seekers and refugees held in one of Indonesia’s 13 immigration detention centers, sharing happy and sad moments with them often only able to bring an open heart and listen to their thoughts and concerns. When hearing a Beatles song the other day it felt like it echoes their feelings and voices. Here I want to share some of their thoughts and experiences with you in the hope it might inspire some to care about those forgotten behind bars. Continue reading


To Build an Immigration Detention “Home”

Immigration Detention Centers are called in Indonesian “Rumah Detensi Imigrasi” literally translated as ‘Immigration Detention Home’ or ‘Immigration Detention House’. They are the technical implementation units of the immigration office functioning as temporary shelters for foreigners violating the Immigration Law, last revised in 2011. Chapter III of the this regulation defines where an Immigration Detention House can be built, on what conditions a person can be sent there and for how long he or she can be detained. It also states that it is part of the government’s duties to provide immigration services, enforcing law and state security and so facilitating people’s welfare. Continue reading


Aerobics is Making Life Brighter

Aerobics is a kind of exercise with music: it is quite rhythmic and is almost like dancing. The difference is that the moves we use in aerobics are more about health, not esthetics, like the movements in dancing. The aim of aerobics is to improve our health by strengthening the body, heart
and lungs. Doing aerobics regularly can help you to stay young. Aerobics can be done by anyone: men or women. The movements involved in aerobics can be divided into three parts: warm up, main activity and cooling down. Continue reading