Mr Max Walden1, Dr Antje Missbach2, Professor Susan Kneebone1, Dr Heru Susetyo3, Ms Atin Prabandari5, Dr Daniel Ghezelbash4, Mr Asher Hirsch2
1University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 2Monash University, Clayton, Australia, 3University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia, 4Macquarie University, Macquarie, Australia, 5University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
This panel will examine the role of civil society in refugee protection in Indonesia to determine its capacity to provide ‘protection space’ for asylum seekers. Protection space is defined by UNHCR as the extent to which a conducive environment exists for refugee rights to be respected and their needs met. Until recently the Indonesian state had delegated its protection role to UNHCR, IOM and their partner organisations. More recently, through the creation of Presidential Regulation 125 of 2016 protection obligations have been handed to local government (the so-called ‘local turn’), which struggles to satisfy the needs of refugees. This local turn has spurred the rise of new civil society organisations (CSOs) which support refugees, such as refugee self-help groups, Muslim and Buddhist charities as well as more rights oriented lobbying groups. Additionally, well-established CSOs continue to operate in a space which is sometimes described as competing with that of UNHCR. In this panel we examine the notion and understanding of protection and protection space amongst CSOs in Indonesia.