Pictures inviting us to see, reflect and actTuesday, September 30th, 2014
“The situation of the Rohingya people raises questions of the state, humanity and democracy. Greg Constantine’s pictures and approach conveys a deep message to humanity. The photographic work of Greg Constantine is an opportunity for the Indonesian people to understand the problems of injustice in Indonesia through the issue of injustice in the world, experienced by Rohingya people” said Alissa Wahid, when opening the photo exhibition ‘Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya’ in Jogja Gallery on Saturday afternoon, 23 August 2014.
The seven day exhibition aimed to highlight the plight of Rohingya people not only via photographs but in various discussions, activities and seminars organized in collaboration with the Faculty of Law and Center for Human Rights Studies, Islamic University of Indonesia, Faculty of Law, University of Atma Jaya Yogyakarta, ASEAN Studies Center at University Gadjah Mada, and the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies, Graduate School of University Gadjah Mada. Discussions were also held through a live broadcast on Radio Republic Indonesia and Radio Sonora Yogyakarta. More technical talks including about the role of photography were held at Jogja Gallery in cooperation with Yogyakarta Morning Class.
“Photography and Exhibitions just create an opportunity to discuss the Rohingya issue in more detail and the wider context as it raises concerns about human rights, identity, international law and refuge. If this exhibition can bring some change to the situation for the Rohingya, then this would be a remarkable thing. Incidents of human rights violations occur everywhere so a photography exhibition can be one way to raise awareness about a very alarming situation. At the end, this exhibition is not about photography but about engagement,”said Greg Constantine.
Life as stateless people is experienced by the Rohingya who are not recognized as nationals by any State or Government in this world. The denial of identity cards, passports, birth certificates leads consequently to the loss of their fundamental rights. There are approximately one million Rohingyas do not have citizenship and experiencing the worst living conditions in the world. The situation of the Rohingya represents humanitarian issues around the world, namely discrimination and human rights violations of states against its own citizens.
In Myanmar, the Rohingya people are not recognized as citizens and are facing many restrictions by the government, which leads to difficulties and vulnerabilities. The experience of extortion when trying to obtain the permission to marry, threats of punishment and imprisonment, deprivation of land and property, loss of jobs and livelihoods, forced labor, persecution and harassment are only some of the reasons forcing them to flee to neighboring countries, including Indonesia. They continue to face harassment, violence, lack of rights, protection and support wherever they go, facing rejection as no country would accept them as citizens.
In 2014, the number of Rohingyas in Indonesia reached 863 people with the status of refugees and 76 people with the status of asylum seekers. They have no legal status, children born here do still not receive birth certificates. Being not allowed to work to support themselves and their families no long-term solution for them is in sight, be it in the form of integration into the society of Indonesia or resettlement to a third country. Hundreds of them were detained in immigration detention centres, including women and children. Their condition remains critical.
“Having ratified the Refugee Convention or not, each country, including Indonesia, has an obligation to protect Refugees. This is a standard principle in international law and humanitarian standards. The Indonesian government is also obliged to respect the principle of non-refoulement, prohibiting the return of refugees to the country of origin where their life is at risk” said Gregory Sri Nurhartanto, dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Atma Jaya Yogyakarta.
The situation of statelessness and consequent human rights violations requires the attention of the international community. What is needed are legal mechanisms to help people without citizenship.
“Stateless communities are ignored in a world that celebrates humanity nowadays. Urge ASEAN to create policies for their protection,” wrote one visitor to the photo exhibition in the visitor book, collecting impressions and messages.
In the ASEAN context, Dr. Sefriani, S.H., M.Hum., lecturer at the Faculty of Law at University Islam Indonesia proposes two paths to be taken to improve the situation of Rohingya people: ‘The ASEAN Way’ which is flexible and constructive or through ‘The mechanism of the Responsibility to Protect’. Through the ASEAN Way, ASEAN countries can undertake humanitarian diplomacy towards Myanmar’s government and encourage them to amend their discriminatory Citizenship Act and raise it as a humanitarian issue. Through the mechanism of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ another country may intervene for reasons of humanitarian protection, when a state is not willing to protect people within its territory and violates humanitarian principles.
For Indonesian people, to be seriously engaged in addressing the situation of statelessness is urgent and important. Indonesia needs to seek legal, social, economic, cultural and humanitarian solutions in order to assist stateless persons residing in its territory. ***
(Indonesia) Paus Fransiskus berulang kali mengunjungi para pengungsi, menyapa mereka dan mendorong kepedulian terhadap mereka. Ia bahkan pernah memboyong tiga keluarga pengungsi Suriah ke Vatikan. Bagaimana pandangan dan ajaran Gereja terkait pengungsi? Continue reading
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
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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
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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