The Lived Experiences of Children of Transnational Migrants in Lombok, Indonesia

Seminar/Forum

The Lived Experiences of Children of Transnational Migrants in Lombok, Indonesia

In contemporary Indonesia economic forces have led to a significant rise in transnational labour, with an accompanying surge in family fragmentation. Policies on transnational labour migration, however, do not adequately consider the rights of children of migrant workers, including their right to an official identity and to protection in a family environment. This seminar discusses how the lack of accessibility to birth registration for children of migrant parents on the island of Lombok, Eastern Indonesia, has resulted in considerable risks for children left behind by their migrant parents. These risks include being unable to access entitlements associated with citizenship, being regarded as de facto stateless, and being exposed to numerous child protection issues while their parents are overseas. Drawing on the results of child-focussed research with children and young people in rural Lombok the paper reveals children’s lived experiences while their parents are away, and the deep feelings they articulate about their parents’ sustained absence. A prominent issue that emerged from the research was how children of migrants are entangled in a multigenerational pattern of undocumented and unsafe migration, leading to inter-generational statelessness. Some children described how they felt they were in some sort of limbo, waiting for something to happen, which included waiting until they were old enough to migrate themselves. By concentrating on children’s own views and experiences, the paper contributes to current debates about the implications of migration and statelessness in the Southeast Asia region.

Image: Milan Jovic

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