Advocating Refugee Rights in Indonesia

  • Indonesia


SUAKA – Indonesian Civil Society Network for Refugee Rights Protection


  • To provide legal aid and legal empowerment for refugees and asylum seekers
  • To raise awareness of the rights refugees and asylum seekers are entitled to
  • To conduct research based advocacy for improved protection and rights for refugees and asylum seekers


  • Ensure refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia understand their rights and have access to legal assistance

Targeted population:

  • All refugees and asylum seekers, though there priority is given to children, refugees with disabilities and women at risk

Challenge addressed:

  • The absence of legal assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia
  • Lack of knowledge about the rights of refugees and asylum seekers

Program description:

  • ‘SUAKA’ is the Bahasa Indonesian word for asylum
  • The network was established in October 2012 to improve legal assistance and human rights advocacy for asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia
  • SUAKA is made up of two non-governmental organisations (Jakarta Legal Aid Institute and Human Rights Working Group) and 43 individuals with expertise in human rights, all of whom work for SUAKA on a voluntary basis
  • There are four programs of work: Legal Aid, Rights and Empowerment, Public Awareness, and Research and Policy Advocacy
  • The Legal Aid and Empowerment includes: legal aid for UNHCR RSD applicants, legal information for RSD, emergency response / monitoring / assistance, and training and capacity building
  • The Rights and Empowerment Program includes: empower refugees to participate in advocacy, “Know Your Rights” information – self help kits and community information sessions, empower refugees to participate in advocacy, and address key protection issues (such as physical violence by authorities, children in detention, livelihood, and women and girls at risk)
  • The Public Awareness Program includes: public events, media engagement, monitoring and training, and embassy briefings
  • The Research and Policy Program includes: data collection and monitoring, as well as advocating to for better policies and procedures, including work with UNHCR, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), and government authorities
  • The self-help kits include details on undergoing refugee status determination, as well as appealing and re-opening cases

Impact on targeted population:

  • SUAKA has assisted refugees in achieving their status with UNHCR, dealing with the national immigration authority, and helped provide refugees with training, information sessions, and self help kits

Impact on host community:

  • SUAKA’s work has led to decreased levels of stigma among members of the Indonesian population and improved government officials knowledge of forced migration issues

Conditions required:

  • Volunteers with sufficient legal and language knowledge

Our impact

  • 3700

    refugees have better access to education and livelihood opportunities

  • 40

    countries in which our partner NGOs are implementing solutions

  • 490

    refugee children benefit from mathematics, english, art and sports classes

  • 700

    women can now support their families

  • 650

    refugees have access to critical healthcare and safety information

Get Involved

We’ve accomplished so much, but the growing urgency of refugee issues in cities means we have a lot more to do and we can’t do it alone. Support the refugee communities that need it most.

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