Indonesia one of the least welcoming countries for refugees: Amnesty International report

Indonesians are well-known for their warmth and hospitality, but those feelings apparently do not extend to accepting refugees into their homes.

That is according to the results of a recently released report by international human rights NGO Amnesty International called the “Refugee Welcome Index”. According to the report, based on a global survey of more than 27,000 people in 27 countries, Indonesia ranked second to last in terms of how willing its citizens are to let refugees live in their towns, neighbourhoods and homes.

The Refugees Welcome Index ranks countries on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 = all respondents would refuse refugees entry to the country and 100 = all respondents would accept refugees into their neighbourhood or home. Courtesy: Amnesy International

When asked if they would accept refugees in their home, only 1% of Indonesians said yes. (By comparison, 46% of Chinese respondents said they would accept them, as did 29% of those in the UK.)

However, when asked if people fleeing war or persecution in their country should be allowed into Indonesia, 72% of Indonesians agreed. Also, when asked if the national government should do more to help refugees fleeing war or persecution, 70% of Indonesians said they should.

Indonesia, which received a rating of 32 in the Refugee Welcome Index, was still many points ahead of Russia, the least welcoming country for refugees in the index with a rating of 18.

At the top of the index were China, Germany and the UK. 

Amnesty noted that globally, “the vast majority of people (80%) would welcome refugees with open arms” and that, overall, the index “shows people say they are willing to go to astonishing lengths to make refugees welcome. It also shows how anti-refugee political rhetoric is out of kilter with public opinion.”

Many refugees from around Asia and the Middle East pass through Indonesia on their way to Australia or other countries they hope will offer them a better life. Many of those refugees end up getting stuck in Indonesia for years as the United Nations High Commission on Refugees works to determine their status and fate.

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