Indonesia's FM Challenges Aus To Settle More Refugees

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Aus defends its refugee commitment

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 20, 2016) – Indonesia's foreign minister has challenged Australia and other countries to pull more weight in dealing with refugees.

As Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, arrives in Indonesia today ahead of a people-smuggling, trafficking and transnational crime summit in Bali, Retno Marsudi told Fairfax's Indonesia correspondent that Australia should do more.

Ms Marsudi said Indonesia hosted more than 13,000 thousand refugees and asylum seekers that are waiting to be resettled and took on 2,000 more from Bangladesh and Myanmar.

She said she hopes Australia will be more receptive to these migrants.

Australia defends its efforts

Last September Australia announced it would take an extra 12,000 refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq, in addition to its commitment of 13,750 refugee places for 2015-2016.

Ms Bishop said at the time that the intake was the biggest effort from Australia since 1951, when it responded to the post-Second World War emigration from Europe.

Australia also currently houses over 1,500 asylum seekers and refugees in offshore processing centres in places such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

Those people had attempted to reach the Australian mainland by boat but were picked up by the Australian authorities and sent to the controversial detention centres, at which riots, protests, hunger strikes and two deaths have occurred.

Third diplomatic post to open in Makassar

Julie Bishop's tour of Indonesia this week includes trade talks and the opening of Australia's third diplomatic post in the country. She says she will formally open the new emabssy in Jakarta and also visit the Eastern city of Makassar to open a consulate-general there.

She says Makassar, on Sulawesi Island, is a key commercial hub for Australians doing business in the east of Indonesia.


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