More than 500 Rohingya refugees, originally from Myanmar, arrived on the shores of Indonesia’s Aceh province on Sunday, marking the fourth wave of arrivals this week, according to a local UNHCR official. The refugees landed in various parts of the province, including Bireuen, Pidie, and East Aceh, overwhelming local facilities. Munawaratul Makhya, a UNHCR official, stated that the refugees had been floating at sea for several days and that efforts were being made to ensure they receive their basic needs. However, the accommodation in Pidie was unable to handle the influx, prompting the UNHCR to request larger temporary shelters from the government.
This recent influx adds to the hundreds of Muslim Rohingya who have arrived in Aceh province over the past few days, bringing the total number to over a thousand. The Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar for several years, seeking refuge in various countries such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Currently, nearly 1 million Rohingya are living in camps in Bangladesh, creating what the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi describes as the largest humanitarian refugee camp globally.
Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry, however, has stated that the country is not obligated or equipped to accommodate refugees, let alone provide a permanent solution. Jakarta is not a signatory of the UN refugee convention. The situation in Aceh province remains challenging, with the government being urged to take further action to address the needs of the Rohingya refugees.
(Reporting by Hidayatullah Tahjuddin in Pidie; Writing by Dewi Kurniawati; Editing by David Holmes)