Living in Limbo: Iraqi Refugees in Indonesia


  • Sue Hoffman Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia



Indonesia, Australia, Iraqi refugees, security, limbo, powerlessness


Between 1999 and 2001 about 4,800 Iraqi refugees made their way to Australia. While the vast majority reached their destination, some never got that far, instead finding themselves stranded in Indonesia for up to 10 years. The author conducted interviews with Iraqi refugees in both Indonesia and Australia, from which a number of themes emerged. Central to these was the insecurity and uncertainty faced by participants over a protracted period with a marked difference when comparing the narratives of the participants settled in Australia with those living in a limbo situation in Indonesia. The former recalled the stresses of their journey and the associated feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression. In the case of the latter group, these feelings were ever present as their journey was not yet over.


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How to Cite

Hoffman, S. (2012). Living in Limbo: Iraqi Refugees in Indonesia. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 28(1), 15–24.



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