IOM and MOFA Conducted Workshop and Pilot Training to Strengthen the Protection of Indonesian Migrants in time of Crisis

Tangerang, Indonesia – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Directorate for Citizens Protection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organized a workshop and training to pilot the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) guidelines in Indonesia. The training which was held on 30 and 31 August 2023, aims to provide details measures that stakeholders can roll out to better support and protect Indonesian citizens abroad in times of crisis to reduce their vulnerabilities. The workshop and training used a participatory approach, which allows participants to actively contribute to their own learning. The training was co-facilitated by IOM’s MICIC officers and expert officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who have directly involved in past emergency responses in countries in crisis.  

In this connected world, more and more people are living and working abroad. There are times when the country they are living in experiences crises, such as conflicts, natural disasters, pandemic, internal turmoil, and chemical hazards. Migrants can be caught up in this situation and become vulnerable, mainly because they are not considered in the frameworks and programs on crisis preparedness and emergency response.  

The situation of migrants in countries in crisis is recognized in various international frameworks, including the 2018 Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), highlighting on minimizing the drivers of forced migration and on reducing migrants’ vulnerability. The MICIC Initiative is a response to the needs of migrants in countries in crisis, covering crisis preparedness, emergency response, and post-crisis action. Through the MICIC Initiative, a set of guidelines was developed to provide practical advice at managing the mobility dimensions of crises and recommendations on how migration can contribute to resilience, recovery and the well-being of our communities and societies.  

“MICIC has been practiced for a long time, even before the Global Compact Migration was launched. Migrants living and traveling abroad face many vulnerabilities, such as language barrier, especially when they experienced trafficking and scamming, leading them to fall into slavery. IOM Indonesia greatly appreciates the efforts of the Government of Indonesia to protect their nationals in countries in crisis,” stated Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM Indonesia’s Chief of Mission during his opening remark.  

The Government of Indonesia, through the Directorate for Citizen Protection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has created mechanisms, policies, and programs to address these crises for citizens living abroad, especially on evacuation. Indonesia has conducted 12 evacuations in the last 12 years in 12 countries, saving around 8,654 Indonesian citizens, including during the initial period of the COVID-19 spread in Wuhan and the conflict in Kyiv. If extra resources are available, Indonesian Missions Abroad can also assist evacuation of other nationals on the basis of humanitarian, bilateral cooperation, and global responsibility.   

Judha Nugraha, Director for the Citizen Protection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that this training is important to prepare them handle future crises and protecting Indonesian citizens abroad. “Protecting Indonesian citizens abroad is a part of our mandates. In time of crisis, the measures are more complex. Fortunately, we had prepared a contingency plan for the crisis in Ukraine and managed to evacuate the nationals when the attack occurred. Much of our success also is due to the assistance from IOM and other UN agencies. This training improve our knowledge and capacity to handle crises in the future and better protecting our citizens. We will certainly adopt this training to further train our personnel both in Indonesia and the missions abroad”. 

“I am very impressed with these two days of training. This training is very resourceful for us as new diplomats or junior diplomats because we learn much about practical implementation of how we protect Indonesian nationals abroad.  I know the issues of the countries, but I do not know the realities of countries in crisis. This kind of training should be conducted over a more extended period or more frequently, especially for us who want to pursue a career in this field,” stated Bayu Arif Ramadhan, Staff of Directorate for Social, Culture, and International Organizations of Developing Countries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

The activity encouraged participants to share information acquired through their own experiences to provide insights on common problems. It is hoped that the information and experiences shared by the participants could help the contextualization of the MICIC in Indonesia, so MOFA can use this as an institutional training manual. Furthermore, the knowledge and insights gained from the activity are expected to be put into practice and implemented widely to improve collective actions and responses to the needs of migrants in crisis to ensure the safety, dignity, and well-being of migrants and overall society.  

The pilot implementation of MICIC in Indonesia contributes to the implementation of the Declaration and the Guidelines on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Family Members in Crisis Situations, as adopted on 30 August 2023 by the ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting (ALMM).  

The activity was supported by the US Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) through Asia Regional Migration Program (Asia RMP) implemented by IOM in 12 countries, including Indonesia.    

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