Former refugees will hold a concert in Indonesia for asylum seekers left in "limbo" and stuck behind "Australia’s closed doors".
A group of former refugees has organised a music concert in Indonesia hoping to put a smile on the faces of asylum seekers stuck in “limbo”.
The Smile For Refugees concert is set to take place in Bogor, Indonesia, on December 2 for those who have found themselves stranded in the country after fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.
Businessman and entrepreneur Khan Hazara, who arrived in Australia by boat more than 10 years ago, is one of the event organisers.
He says having a good understanding of “hardships, miseries and challenges” faced by refugees and asylum seekers stuck behind “Australia’s closed doors” in Indonesia makes such a concert important.
As Australia introduced its toughest border protection policies in 2014, about 15,000 refugees say they are now "stranded" in Indonesia.
Most of these refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Myanmar, Iran and Iraq were expecting to use Indonesia as a transit country en route to Australia.
“Based on our own experiences and hardships we had gone through by coming to Australia by boat, we organised the concert,” Mr Hazara says.
“Most of our Afghans still experience those challenges, and we were always thinking to find a way to help them.
“Then, unfortunately, the Australian government’s policies for immigrants haven’t been so hopeful lately, so we said we would run this program every two years for people who for years have been in Indonesia and Malaysia. So we could have a smile or a moment of happiness together.”
More than 3000 people are expected to attend the event, which is in its third year.
About 2000 people attended the event in 2015 in Bogor and around 1,000 attended the second concert in 2017 in Malaysia.
Performers at the 2019 concert include Afghan singers from Australia, Sweden and Afghanistan, as well as a Tajik singer from Tajikistan.