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Indonesia preps shelter for Rohingya refugees landing in North Sumatra

Tempo - January 5, 2024

Daniel A. Fajri, Jakarta – The Indonesian government has been looking for shelter for Rohingya refugees who landed in Deli Serdang Regency, North Sumatra, earlier this week. They are still staying on the island where they landed.

Inspector General Rudolf Alberth Rodja, the Deputy for Coordination of Security and Public Order at the Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Legal, and Security, said discussions have been held with district and provincial governments. The government is also in contact with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration.

"We are waiting for further developments from the regions," said Rudolf, who also serves as the head of the Coordinating Ministry's refugee task force, at his office, on Thursday, January 4.

Belawan Port police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Janton Silaban said 147 Rohingya refugees, consisting of 53 men, 39 women, 25 boys, and 30 girls, landed in Karang Gading village, Labuhan Deli regency on Sunday, December 31, 2023.

The UNHCR revealed that there were 157 refugees there. The number was different because some refugees mingled with the locals when the ship docked.

Around 2,200 Rohingya refugees have landed in Indonesia since November, including in Pekanbaru and Medan, according to data from the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs.

Indonesia is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. However, the government has repeatedly said that it will accommodate them temporarily while continuing to prioritize the interests of locals.

Rudolf said UNHCR and IOM have recommended several places, such as Blang Ado and Seulawah Scout Camp, in Aceh. Shelters have already been opened for refugees in Mina Raya, Pidie of Aceh.

The government is discussing the relocation of 137 Rohingya refugees from the basement of Balai Meuseuraya Aceh (BMA) to the Aceh Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) building at Jalan Ajuen Jeumpet, Darul Imarah District, Aceh. However, the plan still met with objections from the locals. "The police are guarding the BMA area, and the situation is safe at present," Rudolf said.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1817458/indonesia-preps-shelter-for-rohingya-refugees-landing-in-north-sumatr