Monday, March 30, 2009

Aceh Timur's Rohingya Refugees in the News

The following news clips are from an informational email news service called the Serambi Daily Summary, in which important articles from the country that are especially pertinent to Aceh are translated into English and distributed to interested organizations working in the area. The editors note that “unless marked otherwise, all summaries are extracted from the Serambi Indonesia which is our prime source. The following publications are also monitored: Harian Aceh, Rakyat Aceh, Metro Aceh, Waspada, Analisa, Pro Haba, Aceh Independen, Modus Aceh, Kontras and Tempo."

Monday 16 March 09
The Government are Requested to Involve UNHCR to Handle the Rohingya
Banda Aceh – The Indonesian Government is requested to invite UNHCR’s involvement in the handling the Rohingya boatpeople stranded in Aceh several months ago. “We hope that the government will involve UNHCR because the government of Sabang is unable to continuously assist them, especially their logistic needs,” said the Mayor of Sabang, Munawarliza Zainal in Banda Aceh, Tuesday (17/03). When Myanmar’s Prime Minister, General Thein Sein, visited Indonesia, Myanmar’s agreed to accept these boatpeople back to Myanmar only if they could prove that they are indeed Myanmarese. In this regard, the Government of Indonesia agreed to extend their stay as refugees in Indonesia until a final solution is found. Responding to this agreement, the Mayor of Sabang stated that if the Central Government instructed Pemko Sabang (the local government) to utilize the district budget, the Pemko will be able to so. “However, we have not gotten any instruction to use the district budget from the central government; therefore we presently can only assist humanitarianly,” Munawarliza added. According to Munawarliza, the 193 Rohingyas, now camped in Sabang, are being assisted by some NGOS and other parties, yet the logistic stock is very limited.

And an update in the 3/26 summary:

Again, Muslim Aid Assists the Rohingya Refugees
Banda Aceh – For the second time, Muslim Aid Indonesia have assisted the Rohingya refugees in their camp in Idi, Aceh Timur. This time, Muslim Aid distributed food and medicine and it will build three toilets at the camp site. Special Program Officer of Muslim Aid Indonesia, Abdul Hamid, in his press release to Serambi on Thursday, said that food and medicine packages were directly distributed to the refugees, who are now at the office of Camat of Idi Rayeuk, on Thursday (26/03). Meanwhile, the toilets are under construction and will be ready in three days.

My notes: At this time IOM and UNHCR are helping the Sabang camp but as of today (3/27) they are not involved with the Idi camp. Also: the latrines are nearly complete, thanks to the folks at Muslim Aid. They truly are wonderful!!!

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