Indonesia - 2021 Plan Summary


Operational environment

UNHCR’s main priorities for 2021 will be to that those in need across the country continue to have access to international protection and temporary stay measures.  

While UNHCR continues to promote improved and expanded temporary stay measures, UNHCR expects challenges in meeting the needs of people of concern.

Due to limited number of places, the operation can pursue resettlement only for the most vulnerable, but will work to expand access to other solutions. UNHCR will continue to advocate a range of comprehensive solutions that ensure effective protection.

While Indonesia has not signed the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or nor its 1967 Protocol, the regulation of the President of the Republic of Indonesia No. 125 concerning the handling of foreign refugees was enacted in December 2016 and this continues to serve as the overarching legal framework for refugee issues in Indonesia.

The Ministry of Education’s circular letter on education for refugee children, issued on 10 July 2019, allows refugee children to be enrolled in national schools using the UNHCR identity card.

The same UNHCR’s partners remained active stakeholders in 2020 and will continue as such in 2021, including among others the International Labour Organization, the Jesuit Refugee Service, The Learning Farm, Dompet Dhuafa, the Roshan Foundation and the Tzu Chi Foundation.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting uncertainty have further exacerbated the situation of refugees in Indonesia. The pandemic has also presented challenges for access to health care and education. Refugees’ inability to afford electronic devices necessary to undertake distance learning, as well as the cost of internet data, have been barriers to education. As in 2020, UNHCR will assist the most vulnerable with cash assistance where possible.

Key priorities

In 2021, UNHCR will focus on:

Registering people of concern. It will continue to issue identity cards to them and collaborate with the Government of Indonesia to ensure the recognition and acceptance of the ID card by local authorities.

Providing cash assistance. Refugees are unable to legally work and engage in income-generating activities and are in need of financial support to cover their basic needs. UNHCR will conduct assessments and provide assistance to the most vulnerable individuals through cash -based interventions.

Advocating and facilitating refugee children’s access to education. There are challenges for refugee children to be enrolled in formal and non-formal education in Indonesia. Without a national identification number, a refugee cannot register for the necessary national certificate. Language is also a barrier, with Bahasa Indonesia the language of instruction, as is refugees’ uncertainty over their length of stay in Indonesia. Due to limited opportunities available, refugees often perceive Indonesia as a transit country, which can discourage their engagement with education.
Supporting refugees’ livelihoods. The Presidential Regulation on the Handling of Refugees in Indonesia does not give refugees the right to work. With limited funding, UNHCR and partners can only support with cash assistance a limited number of the most vulnerable people of concern to UNHCR, so it is vital to empower refugees towards self-sufficiency and contributing to their host community.

Engaging further with the private sector, particularly companies with corporate social responsibility programmes, to explore ways to increase support to refugees.