By : Farinia Fianto
Activity begins with short film screening made by Laufende Arbeit the documentary film is about the story on refugees that fled from their war zone countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Palestine, Pakistan and Iraq to Australia via Indonesia based on testimony from Indonesian young man that was appointed to be a guide on the journey through the sea. The film also shows the captured immigrants in a detention center in Kali Deres Jakarta. The duration of the film is about 15 minutes.
The discussion then continue with brief elaboration from Antje Missbach addressing her research study on illegal migrant cases in this regard refugees from that surprisingly not only come from Middle East but also from Africa such as Sudan, Somalia and South East Asia such as Burma, Nepal and Cambodia who head up to Australia. The refugee case has been considered as a serious issue for Australia government due to large illegal immigrants that keep coming to Australia seeking for a better life. Recently Australia government has issued policies that tightly selected immigrants that able to stay and obtain residency in Australia. As result many illegal immigrants coming through the sea are often rejected by the Australian authorities and this cause a new issue for Indonesia as the hub country that is nearby Australia. Furthermore Antje elaborates her visit to Indonesia to conduct a research on International Organization Migrant (IOM), an organization that handles immigrant refugees as well as prevention of human trafficking. IOM has conducted series of trainings for Indonesian authorities in order to improve management in refugees.
She highlights several cases that have been faced by Indonesian fishermen that caught by the Australian authority because of helping the immigrants despite IOM’s attempts to help the fishermen preventing them to cases regarding to the human trafficking issue. According to Antje, IOM has conducted various approaches in its attempt to educate fishermen no to be involved in immigrant case, one of the strategies applied by IOM is to have kiyai and religious figures to approach the fishermen instead of police. IOM has trained the religious figures to overcome on immigrant issue for instance using religious perspectives and reasons. The trained religious figures play strong roles for advising fishermen not to be involved in immigrant cases. However in reality most of fishermen are often trapped in the opposite situation for instance if they found refugees floating on the sea they were willing to help but were afraid because they could be considered breaking the law and could cause them trouble.
One question asked if the cultural issues between the refugees and local people for instance most of the Iranian are Shia and there is contrasting difference in religious traditions and application. According to Antje religious difference is actually not a big issue but she wonders whether in the future this can be a serious issue in Indonesia. Antje stresses up the main issue that put her interest is a definition of smuggle that suggested by IOM and its application in reality that sometimes causing unclear consequences. She then describes a story on refugees in Puncak that was rejected by local community that initially provoked by Front Pembela Islam (FPI).
Indonesia until now doesn’t ratify yet the convention of refugee and it is not clear if Indonesia is to ratify the convention. Thus IOM handles the immigrant cases including paying for all costs of the refugees. Antje also reveals that most of immigrants come from Malaysia before entering Indonesia before they continue to their final destination that is Australia. One question was asked on why Australia became a popular spot for immigrants instead of Europe and United States. According to Antje there were reasons why Australia is popular one of them is because cost to Australia is cheaper than Europe and also Australia is less tight than Europe in term of security. The immigrants are often victims of the international broker that selling out opportunity to reside in Australia in order to make money and improve their life. Later on Antje tells on how the captured refugees live their life in Indonesia in particular Jakarta that they often find rejections from the local.
One issue that also discussed is IOM’s role that has been questioned by Indonesian that led to pro and con. Another issue that discussed is the impact of the immigrant case to the bilateral relation between Indonesia and Australia. The latest development on immigrant case, Australia has made a pact with New Guinea and Nauru to place refugees there and also in the negotiation with Cambodia in order to place refugees there. As for most Indonesian people, the refugee issue is not quite an essential issue and it is not clear on the new soon to be President Joko Widodo’s policy on this. However she finds that the Indonesian government has its own objection accepting refugees since it causing more troubles and conflicts. Furthermore discussion moves into theological aspect on human smuggling. So far a little information on whether any fatwa issued regarding human smuggling although there are numerous fatwa issued by the religious organizations condemning human trafficking. Antje describes the differences between human smuggling and human trafficking that also have different treatments. Later she also reveals the roles of brokers that has changing from time to time, for example at the World War II brokers that smuggled Jewish outside Germany seen as hero but today brokers seen as evil for helping refugees. The meeting also discusses the role of kiyai and ulama in preventing human smuggling and their method in disseminating the issue through their communities.