Indonesian govt asylum-seeker payoffs questioned | Connect Asia

Indonesian govt asylum-seeker payoffs questioned

Indonesian govt asylum-seeker payoffs questioned

Updated 18 January 2012, 19:25 AEDT

An Indonesian International Relations expert is questioning the Indonesian government's attempts to encourage Afghan asylum seekers to return home by offering them financial inducements.

He says greater effort must be made to ensure the asylum-seekers do not return to danger or persecution in their homeland.

Presenter: Christine Webster

Speaker: Hariyadi Wirawan, Head of the University of Indonesia's Department of International Relations

WIRAWAN: Yes I agree with that, I agree with you that we need a little bit of cooperation from Australia and New Zealand. But it's really also the Afghanistan government has to do more work in telling its people about what they're going to have go through when they decided to go elsewhere to have better living.

WIRAWAN: I think it is not very effective and some of them had spent a lot of money to go to countries like Australia and New Zealand. The reason why they go there is for a new life to begin and this is the encouragement to return to Afghanistan is not very, it's not a big welcome so happily by the refugees or by the Afghans. So I think the important thing is all these organised trips and the people from Afghanistan should be taken back home to Afghanistan through a more comprehensive way, that is to take them altogether to Afghanistan and not so much using money as a bait. This is the way of giving them really a chance to make a living back home in Afghanistan.

WEBSTER: Surely the system is not really very good because people do come to Indonesia and they try to get to Australia because they're not happy in Afghanistan. Surely they wouldn't want to actually accept this offer would they?

WIRAWAN: Yes truly but what our government is very much concerned about that because some of them actually come to Indonesia for other purposes, that is to... our government is very clear about problems to our national security. They associate themselves with the radical groups in Indonesia and some of them actually have genuine reasons to go out there, but some of them are suspected of coming to Indonesia for different reasons. That's why if you give them the money and then they will tell people back home and it will in fact encourage people to come over to Indonesia at least they will try to get their way into Australia, because they will say if you get caught in Indonesia you will get the money and return, if not then you'll succeed in getting into the Australian shores. So actually it's not tough enough for them to teach them that going through these islands of Indonesia is not really an option.

WEBSTER: What about the facilities for detention in Indonesia, are they adequate or is this why the Indonesian government's being forced to offer this financial inducement?

WIRAWAN: I think it's far from adequate I mean in terms of the western standards it's far from adequate. But we're not really prepared for them because we only think that they will come for a few moments, very short period of time. They're actually ready to stay in Indonesia for more than three months, even a year or two in order to succeed in getting into other countries.

WEBSTER: I guess what really needs to be done I guess is try to prevent these people from even getting into Indonesia. Is this been an area that the Indonesian authorities have not focused enough resources on?

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