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Hope in a jail cell: Endless wait for asylum seekers in Indonesia

Above: A tent city has sprung up outside the detention centre, with refugees clamouring to get in. Right: Afghan Zabihullah Nazari with his family in their makeshift shelter. They arrived in Jakarta nearly four years ago but ran out of money. Outside
Asylum seekers have made the Kalideres detention centre home since it opened its doors to some of them last August. The Jakarta lock-up facility is meant for immigration offenders.PHOTO: YON GRO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Top: Space is a luxury in the detention centre's overcrowded cells which are at four times their capacity. Above: Sumaiya Hassani, 18, shares a cell with her brother Enayat, 10.
A tent city has sprung up outside the detention centre, with refugees clamouring to get in.ST PHOTO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA
Above: A tent city has sprung up outside the detention centre, with refugees clamouring to get in. Right: Afghan Zabihullah Nazari with his family in their makeshift shelter. They arrived in Jakarta nearly four years ago but ran out of money. Outside
Afghan Zabihullah Nazari with his family in their makeshift shelter. They arrived in Jakarta nearly four years ago but ran out of money.ST PHOTO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA
Space is a luxury in the detention centre’s overcrowded cells which are at four times their capacity.
Space is a luxury in the detention centre’s overcrowded cells which are at four times their capacity.PHOTO: YON GRO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Above: A tent city has sprung up outside the detention centre, with refugees clamouring to get in. Right: Afghan Zabihullah Nazari with his family in their makeshift shelter. They arrived in Jakarta nearly four years ago but ran out of money. Outside
Sumaiya Hassani, 18, shares a cell with her brother Enayat, 10.PHOTO: YON GRO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Above: A tent city has sprung up outside the detention centre, with refugees clamouring to get in. Right: Afghan Zabihullah Nazari with his family in their makeshift shelter. They arrived in Jakarta nearly four years ago but ran out of money. Outside
Outside the detention centre, entire families have made the walkways in front of shops and sidewalks their home, annoying some tenants and residents in the area.`ST PHOTO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA
Above: A tent city has sprung up outside the detention centre, with refugees clamouring to get in. Right: Afghan Zabihullah Nazari with his family in their makeshift shelter. They arrived in Jakarta nearly four years ago but ran out of money. Outside
Some residents feel the refugees are a nuisance and do not welcome them as they block access to their homes and garages with their tents and makeshift shelters.ST PHOTO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA

With US and Australia tightening borders, asylum seekers in Indonesia are facing a seemingly endless wait for resettlement

More than 200 refugees and asylum seekers from war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan mill around daily outside an immigration detention centre in West Jakarta's Kalideres area.

While refugees elsewhere studiously avoid such detention centres, those here are fervently hoping to be allowed inside.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2018, with the headline 'Hope in a jail cell'. Print Edition | Subscribe