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Aceh govt's plan to shelter Rohingya refugees runs into local opposition

Tempo - December 12, 2023

Antara, Banda Aceh – The Aceh provincial government's plan to shelter 137 refugees at Pidie district's scout campsite was met with resistance from locals on Monday, December 11, 2023, an Indonesian Inter-Residents Radio (RAPI) Task Force personnel said.

Due to opposition from locals, the refugees could not be sheltered at the campsite. Instead, they were sent back to the Aceh Governor's office, Fakhrurrazi, a member of the RAPI Task Force, informed.

"They arrived back at the governor's office building at 2:00 a.m. local time on Monday," he said.

Before they could be transported to the Pidie campsite, located about 80.1 kilometers away from Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, two of the refugees tried to escape, Fakhrurrazi added.

Their attempt was foiled. Local police officers arrested them and reunited them with other refugees. The refugees arrived on a vessel on Blang Raya Beach on Sunday, December 10, 2023.

Several government agencies and humanitarian organizations, including the regional disaster mitigation agency, Aceh Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), and RAPI, are taking part in the refugee sheltering mission.

ANTARA reported earlier that the authorities' previous efforts to place the refugees at temporary shelters in Lamreh and Aceh Besar also failed due to rejection from locals.

Regarding the current wave of Rohingya refugee arrivals, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said earlier that the government is temporarily accommodating those who have entered Indonesian territory.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi recently called for a political solution to the Rohingya issue, which is considered an inseparable part of resolving the Myanmar crisis.

During a meeting on the Rohingya issue on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the United States, Marsudi underlined that the future of Rohingya refugees remains uncertain.

At the same time, the global situation and the conditions in Myanmar have made the issue more difficult to resolve.

"Resolving the Rohingya issue should be part of resolving the political crisis in Myanmar," she said.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1808236/aceh-govts-plan-to-shelter-rohingya-refugees-runs-into-local-oppositio