Australia: Refugees are left stranded

Australian PM Tony Abbott

The Abbott government has celebrated the 100th day without any asylum seeker boats reaching Australian territory.

This is the result of policies that favour the protection of borders rather than of people.

So what happens to those asylum seekers stuck in transit countries such as Indonesia?

While recently visiting asylum seekers in Puncak, an area about 60 kilometres from Jakarta that has housed thousands of asylum seekers and refugees in the last few years, I came across a group of men from the Darfur region of Sudan. Tired of their plight as refugees in camps in Sudan, they had managed to come all the way to Indonesia in mid-2013.

They invited me to the place where they stayed. Over a glass of water, I asked them how they managed to pay the rent for their room and buy food.

To my surprise, they said they were basically broke. They were thinking of turning themselves in to the immigration authorities. After all, they thought, it was better to be detained than to starve.

Read on for more whining…