World News

Approximately 400 Rohingya Land in Indonesia, Adding to Recent Arrival Influx

JAKARTA, Dec 10as per Reuters – A flotilla of dilapidated boats carrying an estimated 400 ethnic Rohingya has landed in Indonesia’s Aceh province, underscoring a concerning surge in arrivals of Myanmar’s persecuted Muslim minority. This latest incident, confirmed by Miftah Cut Ade, chief of a provincial fishing community, adds to the 1,200 Rohingya who have arrived in Indonesia since November, as reported by the United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR).

Two boats arrived in Aceh early on Sunday morning, one in the districts of Pidie and Aceh Besar, each carrying an estimated 200 Rohingya, according to Ade. Andi Susanto, a local military official, stated that about 180 Rohingya disembarked in Pidie at 4 a.m. (2100 GMT), with the military coordinating efforts to collect essential data. A second boat was also reported, although details of its landing and passenger count remain unconfirmed.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed his concern on Friday, suspecting human trafficking as the root cause of the escalating boat arrivals. He pledged to collaborate with international organizations to address the issue. While Indonesia is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees, the country has historically accepted refugees arriving on its shores.

The recent influx, however, has sparked a backlash on social media and some resistance from locals in Aceh, where most boats land. President Widodo’s commitment to international collaboration signals the gravity of the situation, emphasizing the need for a coordinated response to ensure the safety and well-being of the Rohingya refugees.

For years, Rohingya have fled Myanmar, where they face persecution and are denied citizenship. Considered foreign interlopers, the Rohingya are subjected to abuse in the predominantly Buddhist nation. The period between November and April, characterized by calmer seas, sees an increase in Rohingya embarking on perilous journeys on wooden boats to neighboring countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

As the humanitarian crisis unfolds, there is a growing call for a comprehensive regional approach to address the root causes of the Rohingya exodus and to provide sustainable solutions for those seeking refuge. The international community faces the challenge of balancing humanitarian assistance with diplomatic efforts to address the complex issues contributing to the plight of the Rohingya minority.

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