President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says Indonesia and Australia have
agreed to hold a multilateral meeting on asylum-seekers involving
countries where the people come from, as well as transit countries and
their final destinations.
Monday, July 08, 2013
Speaking after meeting with Australian
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Yudhoyono said it was not fair if Indonesia
and Australia have to work alone to solve the problem.
the world's largest archipelagic nation with thousands of islands and
miles (kilometers) of unpatrolled coastline, has become a major transit
point for people fleeing war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq
and Sri Lanka.
Hundreds of asylum-seekers have died in sea accidents on hazardous sea journeys from Indonesia to Australia.
from the UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, show a growing number of
asylum-seekers, especially from Afghanistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and
Myanmar, enter Indonesia each year in search of better lives. A total of
8,584 people _ refugees and asylum-seekers _ were registered with UNHCR
Indonesia at the end of January.
"All these countries need to sit
together and seriously find out a solution," Yudhoyono said. "We need
effective cooperation and responsibility of all countries, not only
Indonesia and Australia."
Rudd, who arrived Thursday for a two-day
visit, his first overseas trip since becoming prime minister for a
second time a week ago, backed Yudhoyono's initiative.
"This problem of people smuggling is a problem for our entire region," Rudd said.
No schedule for the proposed meeting was set. It would also include countries such as Malaysia and Thailand.
least 55 people died when a boat going from Indonesia to Australia
capsized last month, and Yopi Haryadi, an official of the Indonesia's
search and rescue agency, said Friday that another boat carrying about
80 asylum-seekers was reportedly taking on water about 145 kilometers
(90 miles) off the Indonesian town of Garut in the southern coast of