Facets of Hospitality: Rohingya Refugees’ Temporary Stay in Aceh
This article examines different explanations for why a group of more than one thousand Rohingya refugees, stranded in Aceh in May 2015, were treated differently from other asylum seekers and refugees residing in other parts of Indonesia. By documenting the tensions inherent in many hospitality practices, this article seeks to shed light on the motivations of various stakeholders and groups providing hospitality in Aceh, which are not necessarily as altruistic as they are widely claimed to be. Given the overall lack of a legal framework for refugee protection in Indonesia, the “Aceh model” has been heralded by the Indonesian government as a success, and the assumed potential of that model as an alternative to state-sponsored humanitarian aid has been praised widely. Yet the subtle instrumentalization of hospitality by non-state actors for non-refugee-related purposes is a cause for concern and calls for deeper scrutiny. This article contributes to the current debate on regional protection and the state’s other responsibilities for asylum seekers and refugees in Southeast Asia, and reiterates the call for more engagement by the state.
Volume & Issue:
Page range: 41-64
Cornell University Southeast Asia Program