JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Amnesty International Indonesia has urged the government to help 94 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar who have washed ashore on the Indonesian province of Aceh on Wednesday, June 24.
“We urge the Indonesian government to ensure their safety [on Indonesian territory],” said Amnesty Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid in a press release.
“The refugees should be given basic food, clothing, clean water and suitable accommodation. It is only fair that they are provided with these, as many of the refugees are children.”
Amnesty International Indonesia called on the government to reactivate the Bali Process Forum, a regional ministerial level forum on human trafficking, people smuggling and other related crimes. Usman hopes that doing so will ensure the safety of the refugees.
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“Amnesty International Indonesia urges countries [in Southeast Asia] not to turn the Rohingya away from their territorial waters,” Usman said.
“Under international law, they have the obligation to rescue refugees seeking safety in their territory. Turning them away is a violation of human rights."
An improvised rescue
The AFP news agency said local civilians in the town of Lhokseumawe, Aceh Province pulled the refugees to shore, after the authorities initially refused to give them permission to land because of coronavirus concerns.
"[The rescue is carried out] purely for humanitarian reasons," said fisherman Aples Kuari. "We were sad seeing kids and pregnant women stranded at sea.”
The authorities said the group consisted of 15 men, 49 women, and 50 children.
The authorities have since relented and permitted locals to house the refugees. However, medical authorities still checked the Rohingya to ensure that they are coronavirus-free.
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The predominantly Muslim Rohingya has been fleeing persecution from Buddhist-majority Myanmar in recent years. The refugees often head to Muslim majority Indonesia and Malaysia as their destinations of choice.
(Writer: Devina Halim/Editor : Bayu Galih)
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