JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has urged Myanmar to resolve its long-running conflict with the Rohingya, as Indonesia and other ASEAN countries continued to take in refugees from the ethnic group.
“Indonesia and other ASEAN member countries call on Myanmar to resolve the core issue [of the Rohingya conflict] so as to ensure their voluntary and safe repatriation [to Myanmar],” Retno said in a teleconference of the 53rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on September 9.
Retno's appeal comes as 296 Rohingya refugees washed up near the Acehnese town of Lhokseumawe. At least one refugee died soon after arrival. The latest wave came three months after 99 Rohingya refugees arrived in the town last June.
"Indonesia has agreed to temporarily shelter the [Rohingya] refugees on humanitarian grounds," she said. "However, it does not change the fact that Myanmar must address the core issue of the Rohingya conflict."
Retno added that ASEAN should step up efforts against human trafficking as many of the Rohingya are suspected to be victims of the illicit trade.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s Human Rights Watch Group (HRWG) and the Kofi Annan Foundation have come up with a number of recommendations to resolve problems faced by the Rohingya.
They include discrimination, civil rights, as well as public services like health care and education for the Rohingya in the state of Rakhine. The recommendations have yet to be implemented by Myanmar's government.
The Rohingya crisis first made headlines in 2012. More than a million Rohingya inhabit Rakhine and refugee camps in Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh. Myanmar has denied the Rohingya basic human rights on grounds they emigrated illegally from Bangladesh.
The group often seek refuge in ASEAN countries like Indonesia and Malaysia to seek a better life, sparking one of Southeast Asia's biggest humanitarian crisis in years.
(Writer: Sania Mashabi | Editor : Kristian Erdianto)
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