Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009 - Indonesia

Quick facts
Number of IDPs70,000-120,000
Percentage of total populationUp to 0.1%
Start of current displacement situation1999
Peak number of IDPs (Year)1,400,000 (2002)
New displacement500
Causes of displacementInternal armed conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index111

At the end of 2009, in many provinces of Indonesia, tens of thousands of internally displaced people were still struggling to find durable solutions that would enable them to end their displacement. Some 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.

In Papua Province, which remains Indonesia's only conflict area, counter-insurgency operations conducted in recent years by the army against rebels of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) have forced thousands of people from their homes. Many have sought refuge in the jungle to escape human rights violations by the security forces. During 2009, military "sweeping" operations in the Central Highlands reportedly resulted in new displacement. In September, soldiers looking for OPM rebels in a remote village in Jayawijaya Regency reportedly burned down 30 houses and forced villagers to flee into the jungle, where some remained for two weeks.

In Maluku Province, the main outstanding issue is the disbursement of a compensation package to an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 internally displaced families. Other continuing barriers to the full recovery and achievement of durable solutions of some displaced groups include land and property disputes, persistent tensions between communities which have become segregated along religious lines, lack of secure land tenure and lack of economic opportunities in relocation sites. In North Maluku, some groups of returnees struggled to access social services.

Central Sulawesi Province remained segregated between Christians and Muslims, despite significant reconstruction and recovery efforts and improvements in the security situation in recent years; this continued to prevent the return of displaced groups to mixed communities. Although there were no reliable figures, between 5,000 and 20,000 people were believed to be either unable or unwilling to return or to be waiting for assistance to rebuild their homes or livelihoods after having returned. Persistent tensions between communities, land and property disputes and the lack of assistance were the main obstacles to return.

In other provinces, such as West Timor and West and Central Kalimantan, thousands of people displaced by communal violence had still not returned, either because they were unwilling to face hostile neighbours, or because they had no land or homes to return to. Many were living in camps or relocation sites, where they were struggling to recover without access to basic services or sufficient support.

Since 2004, the government has officially considered the internal displacement situation resolved. In regions where significant numbers of IDPs have remained, the government has however continued to provide assistance, mainly through programmes addressing the needs of both IDPs and host communities. Nonetheless, corruption involving funds, unreliable data, poor coordination and limited local capacity have often hampered the response and prevented assistance from reaching IDPs.

The national Directorate of Social Assistance for Victims of Social Disaster of the Ministry of Social Affairs has nominal responsibility for assistance to IDPs now included in the broad "Victims of Social Disasters" category. However, since 2007, responsibility for IDPs has been transferred to provincial and district authorities, with central government funding discontinued. District governments now take decisions regarding assistance to IDPs, with provincial governments invited to provide the funding.

The UN no longer assists conflict-induced IDPs as a separate vulnerable group. Instead their needs are addressed through conflict-sensitive reintegration and development projects which seek to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are included in the planning of community-level development programmes, and that livelihoods and economic opportunities improve. A small number of international NGOs have maintained programmes in Maluku, Central Sulawesi, Central Kalimantan and West Timor, while local NGOs and church groups have supported IDPs across the country and in particular in Papua, where the government has not opened conflict-affected areas to neutral observers or humanitarian agencies. In the last few years, the European Union (EU) has been the main donor, supporting resettlement and livelihood programmes for former IDPs. The EU has set aside nearly $7 million to continue this support in 2010.


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