UNHCR has been working in Indonesia since 1979 and has its main office in Jakarta and a presence in Medan, Tanjung Pinang, Surabaya, Makassar, Kupang and Pontianak. Its initial activities revolved around the influx of Vietnamese boat people, in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA), that was adopted on 14 June 1989 by state members of the International Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees.
The CPA provided UNHCR with specific responsibilities in handling the Indo-Chinese influx. In 1979, the Government authorized the establishment of a refugee camp on Galang Island where more than 170,000 people were accommodated until the camp’s closure in 1996.
Indonesia is not a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or the 1967 Protocol, nor does it have a national refugee status determination system. As a result, the Government authorizes UNHCR to carry out its refugee protection mandate and to solve refugee problems in the country.