Asia

Indonesian Envoy to Urge Myanmar to Halt Violence in Rakhine

By Reuters 4 September 2017

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian President Joko Widodo has sent his foreign minister to Myanmar to urge its government to halt violence against Rohingya Muslims, he said on Sunday after a petrol bomb was thrown at the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta.

The embassy attack, which police said caused a small fire, came in the early hours of Sunday morning against the backdrop of mounting anger in Indonesia, home to the world’s biggest Muslim population, over violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

A police officer patrolling a street behind the embassy spotted a fire on the second floor of the building at about 2.35 a.m. Jakarta time and alerted police officers guarding the front gate, a Jakarta police statement said.

After the fire was extinguished, police found a shattered beer bottle with a wick attached to it, the statement said, adding that the unknown perpetrator is suspected to have driven away from the scene in an MPV car.

Jakarta police are investigating the incident, said spokesman Argo Yuwono.

A group of activists had held a protest at the embassy on Saturday, calling for the Nobel Prize Committee to withdraw the Nobel Peace Prize from Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, state news agency Antara wrote.

Protests continued on Sunday in Jakarta’s city center, with dozens of people calling for the Indonesian government to take an active involvement in efforts to end human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Indonesian President Widodo said he has sent Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Myanmar to hold “intensive communications” with involved parties including the United Nations.

“Earlier this afternoon the Foreign Minister has departed to Myanmar to ask the Myanmar government to stop and prevent violence, to provide protection to all citizens, including Muslims in Myanmar, and to give access to humanitarian aid,” Widodo said.

Widodo added that concrete actions are needed and the Indonesian government is committed to helping to solve the humanitarian crisis and that Marsudi will also travel to Bangladesh to prepare additional aid for refugees there.

The treatment of Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s roughly 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya is the biggest challenge facing leader Aung San Suu Kyi, accused by Western critics of not speaking out for the minority that has long complained of persecution.

Aid agencies estimate that about 73,000 Rohingya have fled into neighboring Bangladesh since violence in Myanmar erupted last week.

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