Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia — College students in Indonesia’s Aceh province rallied on Wednesday, demanding the federal government drive away Rohingya refugees who’ve been arriving by sea in rising numbers. The protest got here as police named extra suspects in human trafficking of refugees.

Over 1,500 Rohingya — who fled violent assaults in Myanmar to subsequently go away overcrowded refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh in quest of a greater life elsewhere — have arrived in Aceh, on the tip of the island of Sumatra, since November. They’ve confronted some hostility from fellow Muslims in Aceh.

About 200 college students protested in entrance of the provincial parliament in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh, calling on lawmakers to show away the Rohingyas, saying their presence would convey social and financial upheaval to the neighborhood.

“Get out Rohingya,” the protesters chanted. Many criticized the federal government and the U.N. refugee company for failing to handle the refugee arrivals. Some protesters burned tires on the road.

“We urged the parliament speaker to instantly take a agency motion to take away all Rohingya refugees from Aceh,” mentioned Teuku Wariza, one of many protest organizers.

The protesters marched to a area people corridor in Banda Aceh, the place about 137 Rohingya are taking shelter. The demonstrators threw out garments and home items belonging to the refugees, forcing authorities to relocate them to a different shelter.

Footages obtained by The Related Press exhibits a big group of refugees, largely ladies and kids, crying and screaming as a mob, sporting college inexperienced jackets, is seen breaking by means of a police cordon and forcibly placing the Rohingya on the again of two vehicles.

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The incident drew an outcry from human rights group and the UNHCR, which mentioned the assault left the refugees shocked and traumatized.

“UNHCR reminds everybody that determined refugee youngsters, men and women looking for shelter in Indonesia are victims of persecution and battle, and are survivors of lethal sea journeys,” the company mentioned in an announcement launched late Wednesday.

The assertion referred to as on native authorities to urgently act to guard the refugees and humanitarian employees.

Indonesia had as soon as tolerated the refugees whereas Thailand and Malaysia pushed them away. However the rising hostility of some Indonesians towards the Rohingya has put strain on President Joko Widodo’s authorities to take motion.

Widodo earlier this month mentioned the federal government suspected a surge in human trafficking for the rise in Rohingya arrivals.

Additionally Wednesday, police in Banda Aceh named two extra suspected human smugglers from Bangladesh and Myanmar, following the Dec. 10 arrival of one other boat with refugees. One of many suspects, the boat’s captain, himself a refugee, was charged with trafficking.

“This isn’t a straightforward situation, this is a matter with huge challenges,” International Minister Retno Marsudi advised reporters.

About 740,000 Rohingya have been resettled in Bangladesh after fleeing their properties in Myanmar to flee a brutal counterinsurgency marketing campaign carried out in 2017 by safety forces. Accusations of mass rape, homicide and the burning of complete villages are nicely documented, and worldwide courts are contemplating whether or not Myanmar authorities dedicated genocide and different grave human rights abuses.

Efforts to repatriate the Rohingya have failed due to doubts their security might be assured. The Rohingya are largely denied citizenship rights in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and face widespread social discrimination.

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Related Press writers Niniek Karmini and Dita Alangkara in Jakarta, Indonesia, contributed to this report.


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