Sekupang Refugee Shelter


IOM Indonesia supports the Government of Indonesia in its efforts to accommodate refugees and asylum seekers in shelters, while awaiting durable solutions to their displacement. For the past five years, Indonesia has put more tangible effort into exploring viable alternatives to detention for migrants. Alternatives to detention in Indonesia were initially outlined in the Circular of the Director General of Immigration, providing for accommodation of refugees/asylum seekers outside of detention facilities. Furthermore, Law Number 6/2011 on Immigration and the Standard Operating Procedure s for Immigration Detention Centers (IDCs), specify that pregnant women, sick persons, and minors may be accommodated in community housing facilities.

The Directorate General of Immigration (Immigration) operates 13 detention centers (IDCs) in 13 provinces in Indonesia. The primary function of IDCs is to serve as a temporary custodial measure for foreigners with illicit or expired stay permit (Immigration Law No. 6/2011 Article 83). In IDC, migrants are confined, grouped in different blocks, and subject to arbitrary rules as regulated in the Immigration's Standard Operating Procedure for IDC 2013.

Batam is one of the largest islands in the Indonesian Riau archipelago, strategically located close to the Malacca Strait and Singapore and serves as a critical entry point for irregular migration.

Sekupang Refugee Shelter for refugee families was built by IOM on the grounds of what used to be the Batam Imigrasi Detention Center. Its metamorphosis - from a prison-like facility to one of an apartment complex – provides both symbolic and political nuances of current migration management directions in Indonesia. An MOU signed in 2012 between IOM and the Government established the precedent of taking down a detention facility and rebuilding it into a non-custodial refugee shelter.

The Sekupang Refugee Center has 36 apartment-type units to accommodate approximately 40 families (or a maximum of 159 people).

The shelter has 24 two-bedroom units and 12 one bedroom units -spread out in 3 residential floors. Each unit has a kitchen, a bathroom, and a living/dining area. The shelter has a number of common areas: a recreation area in each residential floor, indoor and outdoor play areas for children, and a multi-purpose hall and a common room. The facility is designed to be accessible for migrants with disability. In addition to major refurbishment which includes electricity back-up generators, and water reservoirs, it also has a significantly robust social support system - with hospitals, schools, and traditional markets in close proximity to the refugee shelter.