News & Publication Sandya Institute and Online Distancing MUN (ODMUN) Workshop on Refugees in Indonesia

Sandya Institute and Online Distancing MUN (ODMUN) Workshop on Refugees in Indonesia

Posted By Sandya Institute On Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Sandya Institute and ODMUN hold a Workshop to Discuss the Role of Non-State Actor in Supporting Refugees and the Start of Open Donations (Jakarta, 11 October 2020)

Jakarta, 11 October 2020 – Sandya Institute and Online Distancing Model United Nations (ODMUN) create a joint workshop under the topic of “Man Outside the Border: Leaving No One Behind in the Midst of Pandemic”. The one-day event was held Online via Zoom meeting with the presence of representatives from Sandya Institute, Geutanyoe Foundation, ODMUN, and more than 80 participants. The workshop was held to mark the start of the collaboration between Sandya Institute and ODMUN followed by an open donation for refugees in Aceh are that will be allocated through Geutanyoe Foundation.

The workshop sets out with an opening from the moderator, Ms. Vanessa Amorti from ODMUN with a general purpose of the workshop which to discuss the overview of refugee, current living conditions, and the state as well as non-state actor roles in providing assistance.  

Ms. Sidney Ririmasse as the Programme Director of Sandya Institute started as the first speaker with her presentation on the overview of Refugees based on the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) and the 1951 Refugee Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. In her presentation, she defines Refugees as “People who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country”. Following this definition, she discussed the different terminologies between refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants that often time create a misconception of cases within the general public. 

Ms. Nathasya Clarissa as the Project Manager of Sandya Institute followed up the presentation by discussing the current status quo of Refugees in Indonesia and how to help them thrive in the midst of a pandemic. She starts the discussion with the existing Indonesian Law that covers the issue of refugees, followed by the role of NGOs on a grassroots level that fills in the gap that has not been covered under the law. She stated that Sandya as a non-state actor taken the role of “Research, Advocate, and provide Teaching”. With a number of proud achievements in research publication, conducting various dialogue, seminars, workshops, fundraising, and the establishment of Sunrise Refugee Learning Center.  

Mr. Rima Shah Putra as the Director of Geutanyoe Foundation deliver the last presentation by discussing his experience in Aceh, supporting refugees from Rohingya. Mr. Rima explained that the roots of Aceh people rescuing Rohingya refugees are their local custom Adat Laut. This custom obligated fisherman to rescue everyone in distress on the sea, but oftentimes the Indonesia government and media perceive it as an act of religious solidarity when it is nothing but mere geographical coincidental. This local custom is what drives Aceh people to show their hospitality by sharing food with all refugees that land within the area. 

At the end of the presentation from the three distinguished speakers, the moderator continues with a question and answer sessions that cover the discussion of why refugees can’t stay in Indonesia permanently and why the Indonesian government didn’t support and fund refugees life in Indonesia. The speakers explained that Indonesia hasn’t ratified the 1951 Refugees Convention so the government has no obligation to covers refugee's life, moreover, refugees can’t stay in the country permanently since Indonesia only act as a transit country before refugees accepted by the host country. However, Indonesia cannot decline refugees because society demands them to be rescued and it would create political disturbance from rejecting them, Mr. Rima added. The speakers also mentioned that the public should change their perception of refugees, not to see them as people took away our opportunity but as an individual that fled their country due to oppression and come here to seek protection. 

The workshop concludes that “Refugees in Indonesia are highly impacted by the current pandemic and can benefit from any form of support from all members of society”. With that, marks the end of the workshop and the start of open donation for refugees. 

Sandya Institute (Sandya) was established on 1 October 2014. Adhering to the value of humanity, Sandya works on peacebuilding, counter violent extremism and human rights advocacy along with Its various partners from United Nations Agencies, Government Institutions, Non-Government Organizations and Civil Society.

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