Jakarta, IDN Times – Acehnese fishermen received widespread praise from citizens for their actions in rescuing 99 Rohingya refugees on Thursday (6/25). They carried out forced evacuations after the local government refused to take them ashore for reasons of fear of being exposed to the corona virus. In fact, when it was discovered by the fishermen on (21/6), the ship used by the refugees almost sank.
Korem commander 011 / Lilawangsa, Infantry Colonel Sumirating Baskoro interviewed by BBC Indonesia on (24/6) then explained that Indonesian authorities had provided logistical assistance to the Rohingya refugees. After that, said Sumirating, the ship carrying Rohingya refugees will be pushed to be taken outside the NKRI area.
“So, temporary assistance to help them. Then, now they have been guarded by water police personnel. After that, they will be pushed out of the territory of the Republic of Indonesia escorted by ships from Lanal (Navy Base),” said Sumirating.
One Acehnese resident, Aples Kuari, said he had spoken heart to heart with the refugees. They claim to be rejected everywhere and no one wants to accept.
“In Malaysia, they are rejected, everywhere they are rejected. Only in Aceh, they are accepted,” said Aples.
The attitude of these Acehnese fishermen has drawn praise from citizens and the international community. Media Al Jazeera based in Qatar even called the behavior of Acehnese fishermen “the best humanity.”
Then, what are the citizens’ comments regarding the attitude of Aceh’s fishermen? What are Amnesty International’s comments on the Indonesian government?
1. The humanitarian attitude displayed by Acehnese fishermen was praised by citizens
The attitude of Acehnese fishermen who have carried out forced evacuations of the Spiritual refugees has drawn praise from citizens in cyberspace. Especially in reality, the Rohingya have been denied everywhere to be anchored.
Now, they are temporarily accommodated in the former Aceh immigration office. In the past, this place was once a refugee camp for Rohingya refugees.
“May Allah bless the city of Aceh and its surroundings. Also protect the Rohingya Muslims from distress. Amen,” wrote the account holder farida.riry on Friday (6/26).
“Extraordinary Acehnese people feel a sense of humanity, I say above average. I pray that what is done by the people of Aceh get a reply by Allah SWT and they are facilitated by fellow human beings,” writes the account holder bayuseptianadicahyo29.
“Salute to the people of Aceh,” said the owner of the Argayudhita account.
Meanwhile, the founder of Watchdoc, Dandhy Laksono said what the Acehnese did to Rohingya refugees was a historical task because in 2004, the international community flocked to reach Aceh after being hit by a tsunami.
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Also Read: Stranded at Sea, 94 Rohingya Helped by Aceh Fishing Boats
2. The Amnesty International organization urges the central government to support the assistance provided by Acehnese fishermen
Meanwhile, in his written statement, the Executive Director of the Amnesty International Indonesia organization, Usman Hamid said the news from Aceh was a relief and showed how the local community upheld the value of solidarity.
“They also respect the human rights of Rohingya refugees who have been neglected,” Usman was quoted as saying on the Amnesty International Indonesia website on (26/6).
However, efforts to protect the Rohingya refugees did not stop there. The central government, said Usman, should also support what had been initiated by Acehnese fishermen.
“After going through dangerous sea travel with starvation conditions, they need a place to shelter. The COVID-19 pandemic should be a motivating factor for Indonesian authorities to provide basic needs for refugees such as food, health services and temporary shelter,” he said.
He cautioned that the Rohingya ethnic group is a vulnerable group which is treated sadistically by the authorities in his country, Myanmar.
3. The Indonesian government will work with UNHCR and IOM to deal with 99 Rohingya refugees
Meanwhile, through written statements, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Rohingya ethnic refugees had been accommodated in the former Lhoksemauwe immigration office, Aceh. The main focus of the Government of Indonesia now is meeting basic needs, providing temporary shelter and health services.
“These things are done by ensuring the implementation of health protocols to prevent the COVID-19 virus among Rohingya ethnic migrants,” Retno said on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday (6/26).
The central government and regional government in cooperation with the United Nations organization for refugees UNHCR and IOM are immediately undertaking further efforts. The Indonesian authorities are also investigating the possibility of smuggling elements so that irregular migrants become victims.
“People smuggling is a crime that must be stopped and requires regional and international cooperation,” said the first woman foreign minister in Indonesia.
Also Read: Amnesty: Rohingya Refugees in the Bangladesh Camp Vulnerable Corona Virus