Indonesia Monitoring Rohingya Situation

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa arrives for a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Phnom Penh on July 1. (Photo: Reuters)

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said his government is monitoring closely the sectarian violence beleaguering the Rohingya Muslim minority group in Burma, as concerns over the matter grow across the Muslim-majority archipelago.

“Indonesia has been monitoring the issue. In fact in 2010, Indonesia sent delegates to Bangladesh and Myanmar to find the root cause of the problem,” Marty told reporters on Monday.

“Our stance is clear: we refuse and are against the discriminatory treatment of anyone anywhere. We cannot tolerate this and we are asking the Myanmar government to manage this issue as Myanmar moves forward toward democratization.”

Marty said Indonesia will bring the Rohingya issue to the Islamic Cooperation Organization summit in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Aug. 14 and 15.

Amnesty International has reported that hundreds of Rohingyas have been killed, raped, beaten and arbitrarily arrested since Burma declared a state of emergency in the northern Arakan (Rakhine) State, on the border with Bangladesh.

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week called for laws to protect the rights of the country’s ethnic minorities in her inaugural address to the country’s Parliament, although her words did not mention the Rohingyas who are not officially recognized as one of the nation’s 135 ethnic groups.

The ongoing violence has driven Rohingyas from their homes in Burma’s northern and western states, and they have being among asylum-seekers and refugees found in neighboring Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations secretary general Surin Pitsuwan said last week that the grouping was seeking an explanation from member state Burma about the recent ethnic violence.

The explanation, he said, would be given at the United Nations headquarters in New York in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry had listed a total of 270 Rohingya asylum seekers in Indonesia, while another 124 had been granted refugee status by the UNHCR.

But the figure could be just the tip of iceberg with hundreds more entering the country illegally, eyeing Australia as their final destination.

Prosperous Justice Party lawmaker Almuzzammil Yusuf said the Indonesian Parliament should conduct its own diplomacy by sending lawmakers to meet their counterparts in Myanmar. “The delegates will monitor and lobby the Myanmar parliament to put pressure on its government to stop ongoing conflict,” he said.

Almuzzammil said he had talked about the proposal to the House of Representatives Inter-Parliamentary Agency and House Commission I, which oversees foreign affairs.

9 Responses to Indonesia Monitoring Rohingya Situation

  1. Let’s talk about this too…

    “Discrimination against Chinese Indonesians”
    Reformation (1998–present)

    After the fall of Suharto, numerous discriminative laws were recalled and others promoting unity were passed. President Habibie passed legislation requiring the elimination of the terms pribumi and non-pribumi (native Indonesian and non-native) in 1998. In 2000, the next president, Abdurrahman Wahid, recalled the legislation forbidding the practice of Chinese culture and use of Mandarin in public. In 2002, Megawati Sukarnoputri declared Chinese New Year a national holiday. However, some discriminative legislation still remains.

    Chinese Indonesians have been “embraced” by the government, with numerous mixed-ethnic cultural presentations and media activity. By 2004, there were (only) three Chinese Indonesian members of the Peoples Representative Council, as well as one cabinet member.


    The use of Chinese Indonesians as scapegoats is partly caused by their lack of political power and government protection. The New Order policy of assimilation has also been seen as a factor; the need to assimilate the ethnic Chinese “indicated that Chinese cultural elements are unacceptable”.

    Discrimination, distrust, and violence against Chinese Indonesians is caused in part by a perception that they are still loyal to China, and only see Indonesia as a place to live and work. They are also seen as being “exclusive”, unwilling to mingle with other ethnic groups, as well as discriminating against native Indonesians in their business relations.


    During the Old and New Orders, Chinese Indonesians generally complied with legal restrictions as best they could. However, the May 1998 riots caused a change in attitude, including greater political activity and assertiveness. Additionally, the discrimination led to an ethnic identity crisis, with Chinese Indonesians with strong Chinese ties feeling unaccepted by the Indonesian populace, and those with strong Indonesian ties wanting equal rights.

    Sociologist Mely G. Tan notes that presently many Chinese Indonesian families have prepared escape plans in case of further riots and find themselves unable to trust ethnic Indonesians. She also notes that younger Chinese Indonesians are increasingly impatient with the inability of the government and military to prevent inter-ethnic violence.

  2. Indonesia have so many island, they shold accept 800,000 of Rohingya there as they are same flock.

  3. Indonesians should concerntrate on monitoring and stopping Muslim boats coming to Aus instead of trying to be Muslim police in Myanmar. How your treat your Chinese and Timorese in your country is deplorable. Stop preaching Myanmar. Perhaps, Myanmar should be monitoring Indonesia on how they treat Myanmar illegal Myanmar there. Or perhaps just send the whole Rohinga population to Indonesia where they will happier, treated fair in a Muslim country.

  4. @Tun Kyaw
    “Indonesia have so many island, they shold accept 800,000 of Rohingya there as they are same flock.”

    Really dude? Is your geography knowledge that bad? It seems that many uneducated Burmese have become “philosophers” and started posting nonsense on the Internet. Indonesians are totally of different race. They are not of the same race. Gautama your “god” is 100% Indian. You guys are Indian idol worshipers.

    Let me ask you a question. Why don’t you accept all the Buddists from the whole world? You can take all the Buddists from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Let them all live in Myanmar.

    Your mentality is certifiable. Every country should take care of their own people regardless of religion, color, race, etc.

    • I agree; birds of a feather should flock together; there is no better nest than Indonesia with a paradise of islets; the Rohingyas could create another Bali…great for Indonesian tourism.

  5. Hello Indonesis Foreign Minister,

    You don’t need to monitor Myanmar gov: because you are not included in authorities in Myanmar.

    Why don’t you take back all these so called Rohingas.

    Like Indonesians, we would suggest Myanmar gov: to make a asylum list. If they have 270, we would have more than 90,000. Are these fig: comparable.

    Myanmar gov: should list so called Rohingas who complained against you and report to foreigners and ask them to go that placees if they are unhappy.

    It is better not to interfere because of religion. The violence does not base on religion but illegal expectation by illegal migrants.

  6. @Mramma : until present?? seriously
    it only happened during soeharto’s regime. get your facts right
    do not justify something you know it’s wrong. we do not need a logical fallacy over here

    @Daw Law : those refugees are not indonesian by citizenship. most of them are afghans. they came to indonesia ilegally as well. so blame afghanistan in the first place

    @mm : so, who are the rohingyas?? bangladesh just the same as burma for not recognizing them.
    “The violence does not base on religion but illegal expectation by illegal migrants.” funny, you allowing people do violence
    btw, Marty Natalegawa is the genereal secretary of ASEAN right now, that’s why he concerns about humanity cases around the region.

  7. 23 Rohingyas escaped Java detention centre – this fact is enough to prove that those were actually bangladesh citizens, perhaps cronies to Rohingya trafficking around the world. Please check it out Mr Foreign Minister. You may find more to the problem during investigation.

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