October 25, 2012
Following is the letter of asylum seekers and refugees detained in one of the Indonesian Detention Centres. We are publishing it in its original form.
To: UNHCR Main Office, Jakarta
CC: Immigration HQ Office, Jakarta; IOM Office, Jakarta
From: Asylum Seekers (203) detained in Lapas Cilegon Jail
Subject: Petition Letter (Open Letter)
Dated: 25 Oct 2012
We are a total of 203 immigrants, mostly Afghans, intercepted in
different locations and detained in a gov jail in Cilegon, West Java.
A first group of 67 immigrants were transferred to this jail on 25
Sept 2012 while shortly after other immigrants were transferred here.
The following are the serious problems and threats that we face:
a) The asylum seekers are detained in official gov jail as if we are
criminals. Most of them are registerred with UNHCR thus receiving
asylum seeker status. We believe that as innocent and compelled
humanbeings without criminal charges, the asylum seekers deserve a
proper place for waiting until the camps are vacant. This jail is
officially for imprisonment of criminals where we are kept in the same
building with indonesian prisoners convicted for serious crimes
including murder cases. On some occasions these prisoners encounterred
the immigrants violently. So the period for which the asylum seekers
are detained in this jail is a clear violation of human rights and
asylum seeking regulations.
b) The asylum seekers immigrate/escape from their countries leaving
behind their families in harsh situations. Therefore time is an extra
important element in their lives while staying for long time in this
jail without UNHCR visits, wastes an important amount of our time in
terms of registration, interview dates and case processing.
c) Medical facilities dont exist. Many of the asylum seekers suffer
from illness, there have been some serious medical cases which
remained unattended for days.
The followong are our requests from concerned offices especially UNHCR
which we consider as the very right UN body to look into our situation
and give the right solution which is helpful to the asylum seekers and
their families on human rights and humanitarian basis:
1) We request UNHCR to urgently send an authorized delegation to the
jail to take note of our situation and assist us in getting
clarification about why we are kept as criminals in the jail with
2) UNHCR, Immigration and IOM to arrange for quickly transfer of the
asylum seekers to proper gov facilities considerred as refugee
processing Camps. Otherwise, if the Camps are full, a proper place
should be considerred for us to stay and wait.
3) Those who are not registerred to be registerred with UNHCR. For
those who are registerred date of interview to be allocated.
4) There are few persons that have declared as refugee by UNHCR we
request UNHCR to consider their relocation. The under-age to be given
Herewith, UNHCR and other concerned offices of Immigration and IOM are
informed and kindly requested to take urgent action on the above