Indonesians want Myanmar punished for Rohingya abuse

Aceh wants Myanmar to face consequences for abuse of Rohingya minority

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Indonesians living in the west of the country have launched a petition which demands the country to cut all ties with Myanmar as it relentlessly violates rights of the Rohingya community, driving them to flee to the neighbouring countries.

The petition is due to be presented to the President and House of Representatives on Tuesday, after public participation.

The community, which is currently adversely impacted by the boat people crisis, has asked the Indonesian government to take action regarding the Muslim Rohingyas who face persecution by Myanmar.

The Coalition for Caring for Rohingya urged the Indonesian government to take certain steps against the Myanmar government, at a press conference on Monday, according to Anadolu Agency.

Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic group of roughly 1.3 million, are the victims of human rights violation in Myanmar, as they have been discriminated and persecuted by the Buddhist nation for years.

The petition demands that Indonesia reconsiders its ties with Myanmar, and that investments in the country be suspended.

In addition to the first two demands, the petition calls for Myanmar’s ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) membership to be revoked and that no Myanmar officials be admitted entry into Indonesia.

Volunteers collected signatures on Monday for the petition in the streets of Banda Aceh.

"The Myanmar government has pursued a program of systematic genocide, calling the Rohingya illegal migrants, a threat to national security, a virus, [land] grabbers, and a threat to Buddhist culture," Adnin Armas, Coalition chairman said on Monday.

He added that a major part of the Rohingya community’s problems is due to the oppression of the Myanmar administration since the 50s.

Indonesia provides temporary shelter for Rohingya boat people.

Over a million Rohingya are denied citizenship in Myanmar and live in apartheid-like conditions along with frequent violent attacks by Buddhist mobs.   

According to the United Nations, Rohingya are the most persecuted minority in the planet, as during the last two years Buddhists have killed hundreds, and forced at least 86,000 of them to flee the country.

Consequently, tens of thousands of Rohingya have taken to the seas in search of better lives elsewhere.

The Myanmar government does not accept responsibility for the plight of millions of Rohingya.

The US Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard told reporters in Jakarta earlier in June that "Rohingyas need to be treated as citizens of Burma [Myanmar]."

Following the 1948 declaration of Myanmar’s independence, the exclusion and persecution of Rohingya began in the country. And in 1982, Ne Win, military ruler of the time, stripped these people of citizenship in their own land.

TRTWorld and agencies