Lenny Tristia Tambun & Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – The Jakarta city council has announced that after two months it will stop aid for thousands of refugees and asylum seekers currently being housed at a converted military barrack in Kalideres, West Jakarta. The refugees will be ordered to leave the shelter on Aug. 31.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the refugees will be evicted from the premise and handed over to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
However, there is a possibility that the central government may try to extend the deadline.
"We'll wait until the end of this month. The ultimate decision is in the hands of the central government. The Jakarta administration is merely providing humanitarian aid. We don't have the authority to decide on this matter. It will be up to the central [government] and the UNHCR," Anies said on Thursday.
He said funding is not the problem for the Jakarta administration but government bureaucracy limits its authority to help the refugees.
"If they need humanitarian aid, we'll give it to them. But a long-term solution is beyond our authority. This is not about lack of funding, it's about [who has the] authority," Anies said.
Around 1,500 refugees and asylum seekers, including women and children, have been housed in the shelter in Kalideres for almost two months.
In total, there are currently 14,000 refugees living in limbo in Jakarta while they wait for resettlement. Around 8,000 of them are being taken care of by the International Organization of Migration (IOM).
The Aug. 31 deadline was decided last Wednesday in a meeting between the UNHCR, IOM and the Jakarta administration.
Last Thursday, Ali Khan, a refugee at the Kalideres shelter, said supplies of water, food and electricity to the shelter had already been cut off.
The refugees have been made aware they must leave the shelter by the end of this month, but they do not know where to go after that.
Ali said most likely they will return to the sidewalks near the UNHCR office on Jalan Kebon Sirih in Central Jakarta and camp out on the streets again.