Antara & Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – Indonesia may start to repatriate Iranian migrants currently in limbo in the archipelago, following an agreement with their country's consular representatives earlier this week.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday that the agreement was reached during the fifth Indonesia-Iran consular consultation meeting, attended by Winanto Adi, director general of protocol and consular affairs, and Prasetyo Hadi, director of consular affairs, in Yogyakarta on Aug. 26-28.
Indonesia formed a task force in July to address the migrant question and find ways to repatriate them, after their intended destination countries – mainly Australia – slowed down the resettlement process. Special attention will be given to migrants whose resettlement applications have been rejected.
Some migrants have already waited eight years, due to Australia's restrictive immigration policies, resulting in increasingly more getting stranded in transit countries, such as Indonesia, which is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Iranian Ambassador Aliasghar Mohammadi expressed appreciation of Indonesia's decision to facilitate the repatriation of more than 360 migrants from his country. He said Iranian Embassy representatives would visit them at their temporary home in Kalideres, West Jakarta.
Other matters discussed during the Yogyakarta meeting included consular affairs, such as visas for Iranian citizens and extradition arrangements.
The two countries reached agreement on most of the issues discussed and will start to implement those immediately. The remaining matter will be discussed during the sixth consular meeting in Tehran next year.