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Over 1,000 Rohingya Refugees Landed in Indonesia’s Aceh in 2020-2022: Foreign Ministry

January 5, 2023, 07.07 PM

BANDA ACEH, – A total of 1,155 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar landed in Indonesia’s northern Aceh province in the last three years, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

"We recorded nine instances of the landing of Rohingya immigrant boats in Aceh in the 2020-2022 period, with total refugees of 1,155 people," Achsanul Habib, the ministry's director of human rights and humanity, said during a virtual meeting with Commission I of the Aceh legislature, Wednesday, Jan. 4.

He said that in 2020, a total of 395 refugees landed in the Lhokseumawe district in June and September and a year after, 186 Rohingya refugees landed in East Aceh and Lhokseumawe districts on two separate occasions in June and December.

The arrival of Rohingya refugees in Aceh surged in 2022, with the authorities recording 574 refugees landing in Bireuen, North Aceh, Aceh Besar, and Pidie districts on five separate instances in March, November, and December, he said.

Also readRohingya Refugees Get Emergency Treatment after Boat Lands in Indonesia

"Observing the arrival time, we conclude that they arrived at the date when the Indonesian government focused on other affairs, and they exploited the opportunities (at that time). Moreover, Aceh is the closest (Indonesian) region to the Andaman Sea," he said.

Overall, there are a total of 12,616 foreign refugees in Indonesia – excluding 231 refugees who landed in Aceh in December 2022 – with the highest percentage being Afghan and Somali refugees, he added.

"Our record shows the largest number of refugees are Afghans, Somalis, and Rohingyas, and with other ethnicities, the refugees belonged to 51 different nationalities," he said.

Of the 12,616 foreign refugees, at least 6,994 are Afghans, 1,301 are Somalis, 856 are Burmese, 591 are Iraqis, and 2,874 belong to other nationalities, and they are mostly domiciled in the Greater Jakarta region, he added.

"The reason why Afghans and Somalis are the largest (foreign refugee) groups is because of crises in their country; they decided to seek refuge in Indonesia, but they plan not to make Indonesia their final destination," he said.

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