Indonesia Has Power to Help Resolve Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar: Amnesty International

The humanitarian crisis in Myanmar has driven more than 600,000 Rohingya men, women and children from their homes in Rakhine State to neighboring Bangladesh. (Reuters Photo/Cathal McNaughton)

By : Sheany | on 11:27 AM November 22, 2017
Category : News, Human Rights, Foreign Affairs

Jakarta. Amnesty International has urged Indonesia to "move further and take a strategic role" in resolving the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

Indonesia has been active in addressing the humanitarian crisis that escalated in August, after attacks by insurgents on the military led to a bloody crackdown driving more than 600,000 Rohingya men, women and children from their homes in Rakhine State to neighboring Bangladesh.

Indonesia was the first country allowed to enter the region and deliver humanitarian aid.

The Indonesian government's humanitarian assistance program worth $2 million was followed by dialogues with Myanmar authorities and inclusive development programs.

Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid said on Tuesday (21/11) that Indonesia must take advantage of its position in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its seat at the Human Rights Council (HRC) to help legitimize the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.

UN member states fill the council's 47 seats for three-year terms. Indonesia's role at the council will expire at the end of 2017.

In March, the council created the international mission to establish facts on human rights violations in Rakhine State, but Myanmar has denied it entry.

"We hope Indonesia will leave a legacy of human rights, especially in addressing the crisis in Rakhine State. It should urge Asean members to press on the Myanmar government to give full access to the fact-finding mission," Usman said in Jakarta at the launch of the latest Amnesty International report on Rakhine State.

Usman said there is hope "as long as there are continuous steps from the Indonesian government" to help address the crisis.

International pressure, to an extent, has worked in persuading the Myanmar government to adopt recommendations laid out by an advisory commission on Rakhine State led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which signals that Myanmar is still open for the international community's presence in resolving the crisis.

Although Asean member states, which include Myanmar, uphold a bedrock policy of non-interference in each other's domestic affairs, in accordance with the organization's charter, Usman said, Indonesia can call for an emergency summit to address the situation in Rakhine State.

The very charter obliges Asean members to protect and promote human rights.

On the broader international stage, however, Indonesia's steps are limited as it has yet to ratify the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – the treaty that serves as a basis for the ICC to investigate and prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crimes of aggression.

Among Asean's 10 member countries, only the Philippines has ratified the treaty.

According to the Amnesty International report, "Caged Without a Roof," which was based on a two-year investigation, severe and extensive discriminatory laws, regulations, practices and attacks against civilians in Rakhine State constitute apartheid.

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