Although this year dozens of boats with asylum-seekers on board have been intercepted in Indonesian waters while they were attempting to reach Australia, aka the ‘lucky country’, a boat with Somali passengers aboard came as a surprise to many observers. Usually, these ‘boat people’ hail from conflict countries in the Middle-East and Central Asia, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran or Sri Lanka. Why would somebody from Somalia choose to come to Indonesia as a transit stop during the journey to Australia, which is thousands of kilometres away from their homeland, rather than try to find protection in the immediate neighbouring countries, such as Kenya or Yemen? Or if those are still seen to be unsafe, why would they not try to seek asylum in Europe? The answer to these questions is not easy, as a number of different factors have to be taken into consideration.
Antje Missbach is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Melbourne. For the last six years, she has worked on topics, such as migration and mobility, long-distance politics and diaspora politics. Currently, her research interest focuses on the every-day live experiences of asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia. In particular, she is interested in transnational support networks that shape the migration experiences both before and during people’s journeys. www.law.unimelb.edu.au