Social Issues

Indonesia relocates 300 Rohingya refugees as local resentment grows

Jakarta, Dec 11 (EFE).- Indonesia moved more than 300 Rohingya refugees to temporary shelters on Monday in response to growing resentment over the increasing number of refugees arriving in the archipelago.

The newly sheltered Rohingya refugees, a Muslim-majority ethnic group persecuted in Myanmar, had arrived on two boats over the weekend.

One ship reached Pidie, a coastal town in Aceh province early Sunday, and the Rohingyas were relocated to tents approximately 100 meters from their arrival point, Social Services official Muslim told EFE.

Locals in Pidie have granted the refugees three days, after which they will need to be moved to another location, yet to be determined, due to local opposition, Muslim explained.

“The people here rejected (the Rohingyas) and are not willing to accept them,” making it challenging for authorities to provide refuge, he said.

The second ship arrived in Banda Aceh, the capital of the province. Due to opposition from locals, they were relocated.

The other ship of Rohingyas, a Muslim-majority ethnic group persecuted in Myanmar, arrived in Banda Aceh, the capital of the province. Again, due to opposition from locals, they were moved to the governor’s vicinity.

The recent influx of boats carrying Rohingya refugees to the northern shores of Indonesia has sparked unrest among local communities.

According to United Nations data, over 1,000 Rohingyas arrived in Aceh in November alone.

Expressing concerns about human trafficking, President Joko Widodo said many Rohingyas were entering Indonesia through the Aceh province coast.

He wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday that the “government suspects the involvement of perpetrators of human trafficking.”

Members of the Rohingya community embark on the perilous ocean crossings to escape persecution in Myanmar and the challenging conditions in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

In 2022, nearly 3,500 ethnic Rohingyas risked their lives on dangerous sea routes, with at least 348 reported dead or missing, according to UN data.

The Myanmar military’s brutal campaign in August 2017 led to the exodus of more than 720,000 Rohingya refugees, resulting in accusations of genocide against the country before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. EFE

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