Navigating Asylum: Journeys from Indonesia to Australia
Life in transit poses many challenges for forced migrants. This research explores this distinct stage of the migration journey through a case study on Hazara asylum seekers living temporarily in Indonesia on their search for safety. The thesis follows two lines of inquiry: exploring both the practical day-to-day experience of asylum seekers in Indonesia and the larger international context in which closed borders and securitization of migration has become the norm. What becomes clear is that these two elements are inextricably linked. Extreme push factors operating in various locations force many to flee their homes in fear of their lives. However, due to the increase in extraterritorial border control initiatives and non-arrival regimes implemented by developed nation states, many forced migrants find themselves caught in transit locations unable to access durable solutions while simultaneously being denied access to protection zones. As a result many asylum seekers in Indonesia find themselves in precarious positions, unable to remain, yet unable to return to the home they have fled. The analysis highlights structural constraints, personal motivations and fraught tensions between choice and compulsion that people confront in transit locations. Drawing on the complimentary political philosophies of Giorgio Agamben and Simon de Beauvoir, this thesis charts the struggle between structure and agency that participants embody throughout their forced displacement and time in transit. It is argued that while powerful states of the Global North have developed complex exclusion strategies from territories where the rights of asylum are formally enshrined, asylum seekers find ways of resisting these exclusionary practices, by reasserting their rights in the face of shrinking access to protection. (Supervised by Julie Kimber and Michael Leach).