On the sunny morning of December 9th, five Iranian refugees and asylum seekers started to pedal their bicycles in front of the UNHCR office in Kebon Sirih Jakarta, their faces full of spirit. Through “Bike to Freedom” they go on a cycling journey of about 1.250 kilometers towards Bali to commemorate World Human Rights Day that is celebrated every year on December 10th.

Bike to Freedom A Campaign for Indonesia from Refugees

For Mohammad Rasool Bagherian (leader, captain and navigator), Fakhri (co-captain), Azim (technician), Shirin and Ahoora (cook and cookie), their campaign is about raising awareness for refugee issues in Indonesia, particularly about the conditions and situation of the refugees. They are looking for better lives and do not want to be a burden for Indonesia. They also hold a fundraising event for UNHCR in support of refugees.

Under the slogan “Refugee resettlement is not a right, but it’s a right way to treat refugees”, they want start a discussion about a chance for refugees in Indonesia to get a permanent solution satisfying do all involved parties, especially regarding the issue of transferring to a third country.

“We know the resettlement is not a right of the refugees but we don’t want to keep silent while waiting for the transfer to a third country. That’s why we engage in positive activities to support this (resettlement),” said Mohammad Rasool Bagherian.

Bike to Freedom will take 16 days of cycling. The refugees will arrive at the International Organization on Migration in Bali on December 25th. Besides UNHCR, NOW! Jakarta and NOW! Bali support this activity.

Sari Widiati

Sari Widiati

Sari has been an arts and culture enthusiast for many years. She has written extensively on the arts, travel, and social issues as Features Writer at NOW! Jakarta.