Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Indonesia

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 23 March 2011
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Indonesia, 23 March 2011, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Quick facts
Number of IDPsAbout 200,000
Percentage of total populationAbout 0.1%
Start of current displacement situation1999
Peak number of IDPs (Year)1,400,000 (2002)
New displacementUp to 35,000
Causes of displacementArmed conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index108

During 2010, tens of thousands of people were displaced, albeit only temporarily, by inter-ethnic violence in East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, and in Papua Province by Indonesia's only continuing armed conflict. In East Kalimantan, an estimated 32,000 people were forced from their homes in Tarakan city in September following violence between indigenous Dayak Tidung and Bugis who had migrated from South Sulawesi. The deployment of security forces and government mediation allowed for the quick restoration of stability and the return of most IDPs to their homes.

In Papua Province's Central Highlands, army operations against rebels of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) continued to be reported during the year. The number of people they displaced was unknown, as the limited access to the area prevented any independent assessment of the situation. Most of the IDPs reportedly took refuge in the jungle to escape violence at the hands of the security forces.

Meanwhile, in several provinces of Indonesia, durable solutions remained elusive for tens of thousands of IDPs. Many of them had first been displaced more than ten years before by inter-communal violence opposing different ethnic or religious groups, or by separatist struggles between rebel groups and the country's security forces.

Five years after a 30-year conflict between the armed forces and Acehnese separatists ended, up to 146,000 people had not yet managed to return to their homes in Aceh Province or to sustainably resettle or integrate elsewhere. Most of them were ethnic Javanese migrants who had been forced to leave by Acehnese rebels, and still feared for their safety should they return. Most IDPs had not received any specific assistance since the end of the conflict. In many cases, displaced people had returned, only to find their situation worsen due to the damage to infrastructure and property, and the lack of social services and economic opportunities in return areas.

Central Sulawesi remained segregated between Christians and Muslims. Between 5,000 and 20,000 IDPs had been unable to achieve durable solutions nearly ten years after their displacement. Many had chosen to integrate locally, but they often lacked sustainable livelihoods and had limited access to government services. Some of those who had managed to return were still waiting for housing assistance or were struggling to establish a sustainable livelihood. Government interventions to help IDPs recover property and rebuild livelihoods had been generally half-hearted, under-resourced and prone to significant corruption.

In West and Central Kalimantan, most of the estimated 200,000 people displaced by violence pitting indigenous Malays and Dayaks against Madurese between 1997 and 2001 had returned to their homes. However, restrictions imposed by local administrations and communities reportedly prevented some returnees from enjoying their rights to the same extent as other citizens. In West Kalimantan, some former neighbours were also reluctant to give up property they had seized from the displaced. The recovery of those still displaced was hampered by their limited access to farming land and their failure to get compensation for the property they had lost.

In Maluku Province, thousands of former IDPs continued to face barriers to their full recovery, in a context of persistent tensions between communities which had become segregated along religious lines. IDP representatives claimed that close to 4,000 families had still not received compensation promised by the government.

Since 2004, the government has officially considered the various internal displacement situations resolved. In regions where significant numbers of people have remained displaced, it has however continued to provide assistance, to both IDPs and host communities. However, corruption, poor coordination and limited local capacity have often prevented assistance from reaching IDPs.

The Ministry of Social Affairs has nominal responsibility to assist IDPs, who are now included in the broad "Victims of Social Disasters" category. However, since 2007, central government funding has been discontinued and responsibility for IDPs has been transferred to provincial and district authorities.

In recent years, the UN has mainly addressed the needs of IDPs through reintegration and development projects seeking to improve the economic prospects of communities while ensuring that the needs of their most vulnerable members are considered. A small number of international NGOs have maintained programmes in Maluku, Central Sulawesi, Central Kalimantan and West Timor. In the last few years, the EU has been the main donor, supporting resettlement and livelihood programmes for IDPs. Under its Aid to Uprooted People programme, the EU will continue to support IDPs in 2011.

Search Refworld