Something to look forward to during the ‘Long Wait’Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
Life of asylum seekers in the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) is a ‘Long Wait’. They have to wait for the RSD (Refugee Status Determination) and thereafter still have to wait for the process to be received by a third country (resettlement). The long wait and the monotony of daily life often lead to stress, tiredness and boredom.
The process of determining if someone is a genuine refugee can take between eight months to a year. People experiencing this time in an Immigration Detention Center rename it ‘Immigration Tension Center’ to describe the atmosphere of uncertainty, stress and tension.
When JRS started to offer an opportunity of enjoying the atmosphere outside detention at a local swimming pool, the idea was greeted with enthusiasm not only be people detained but also immigration, because these activities can make the detainees feel happier. Now the swimming events take place every Wednesday, allowing ten people to visit a swimming pool about 12 miles from the IDC. Between March and August 2014 almost all detainees have enjoyed time at the pool, some even come 2 times. The swimming activity is offered in collaboration between IOM, JRS and is accompanied by 20 immigration staff.
“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.
“At least, I can get out. I can swim and enjoy the atmosphere outside detention. I was also able to buy something for my friends.” said detainee of Somali origin.
The Head of Security and Order in the IDC stated, “With the swimming events, at least they can have fun while exercising. So their boredom can be reduced.” In fact, he adds, ”If possible I actually agree that this kind of activity happens more often, how about two times a week.”
Another senior immigration staff adds, “The important thing is the detainees can be happy and cheerful, so there are not too much complains and the feeling of being stressed. If you feel happy and not stressed, you are healthier.”
Detainees often ask when it will be their next turn to go swimming. According to one asylum seeker from Afghanistan “to go swimming helps reducing stress, even if I have to wait two more months to get a turn.”
Swimming activities is one way to fulfill the rights of refugees to freedom, even if only for a short time. Being able to see the outside world and enjoy the excitement, gives something to look forward to during the ‘long wait’.
If we, as a human family, insist on only ever seeing refugees as a burden, we deprive ourselves of the opportunities for solidarity that are also always opportunities for mutual learning, mutual enrichment, and mutual growth. Continue reading
Yogyakarta, 20 November 2014 – The Jesuit Refugee Service observes with deep sadness yet another sudden retroactive change in the policy of Australia towards people seeking international protection in Southeast Asia. Yesterday, the government of Australia announced its decision to … Continue reading
Together with the Community of United Volunteers Yogjakarta, JRS Indonesia took part in the emergency response in Kelud. The Community of United Volunteers Yogjakarta, comprised of a diverse group of individuals and students from Yogyakarta, work together in humanitarian disaster response, being present and providing support in the form of accompaniment, counseling activities or delivering urgently needed goods. JRS Indonesia provided funds to support the operational and expenditure of urgently need goods, also presence in the field for two days, on February 26-27, 2014. Continue reading
Celebrating 33 years of being with and serving refugees, JRS would like to encourage you to extend your hospitality and support to our brothers and sisters that are here to seek protection. Continue reading
“It’s not enough to give a sandwich if it isn’t accompanied by the possibility of learning to stand on one’s own two feet. Charity that does not change the situation of the poor isn’t enough. True mercy, which God gives and teaches us, calls for justice, for a way in which the poor can find a way out of poverty.” Continue reading
The Jesuit Refugee Service joined together with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and representatives of a number of faith-based organisations to call for greater protection for refugees.
The multilingual, 16-page declaration, known as an Affirmation of Welcome, is the first to involve UNHCR and a spectrum of faith-based organisations. Continue reading
In May 2013 JRS supported the SUAKA Diplomat briefing on the situation of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Indonesia. SUAKA and JRS participated in a Focus Group Discussion at the National Human Rights Commission discussing and promoting Indonesia’s ratification of the convention on the status of Refugees and its protocol. SUAKA continues to provide legal advice and accompaniment to Asylum Seekers during the RSD process mostly referrals from JRS. Currently a more comprehensive referral system is developed in a collaboration of JRS and SUAKA. Continue reading
It was Sunday evening of 9 September 2012. Twelve African men were walking toward a rather big shop in Cipayung. They were some asylum seekers from Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. Their destination, a place on the third floor of that … Continue reading
Yogyakarta, 14 November 2011 – 31 years is not short measured on a lifetime. After a 31 year journey JRS is proud of the heritage of spiritual insights from Pedro Arrupe who arouse the concern of people for the refugees. This year, JRS Indonesia celebrated its 31st anniversary in many simple ways. Continue reading
It was the 20st of June, World Refugee Day, and JRS had invited to come to Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta. About 50 people including lecturers, representatives of civil society and students from Indonesia, Thailand and Burma/Myanmar had gathered here to watch the film describing the experiences and challenges faced by refugees in their home country and in the country of asylum (Malaysia). “Personally I appreciate everyone that helps them (refugees) and accepts them in their country … these people fleeing and their voices touched everyone of us” states Lorence a student from Myanmar/Burma at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta still touched by the stories shared through the film. Continue reading