Jokowi Urges Asean Countries to Unite to Solve Rohingya Crisis

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, second from right, at the Asean Summit in Manila on Monday (13/11). (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Secretariat)

By : Adinda Putri | on 12:43 PM November 14, 2017
Category : News, Human Rights, Foreign Affairs

Jakarta. Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo urged every member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, to help resolve the current political and security crisis in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State — in which security forces and militants have clashed violently with the Rohingnya minority — during a speech at the 31st Asean Summit in Manila on Monday (13/11).

"We are all concerned with the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State. We understand the complexities underlying the crisis, but we can’t only stand in silence," the president said.

According to Jokowi, the longer the conflict persists, the bigger the impact will be on regional security and stability.

A prolonged crisis will help spread radical ideologies and make it harder for Asean governments to put a stop to human trafficking.

The president said there must be trust and solidarity among Asean member countries in order to resolve the crisis.

The Asean Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance (the AHA Center) should be given access Rakhine State to provide humanitarian aid, Jokowi said.

"Asean should be part of the solution. We have to prove to ourselves and to the world that we are capable of handling our own problems," he said.

Jokowi said three important points in the "Report to the People" speech delivered by Myanmar's state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi – repatriation and humanitarian assistance, resettlement and rehabilitation and development and durable peace — should be implemented as soon as possible.

"Talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar on repatriation should continue," he said.

Myanmar and Bangladesh have already agreed on a deal to repatriate Rohingya refugees and take steps to boost border security.

Relations between the neighbors have been strained by the continuing flow of refugees into Bangladesh — over 600,000 of Rohingyas since Aug. 25 at last count.

Indonesia has already delivered humanitarian assistance to Rakhine State following the "4+1 formula": restoring stability and security, maximizing self-restraint and desisting from violence, providing inclusive protection to everyone in the state and allowing open access for humanitarian aid to enter the region.

The "+1" in the formula urges Myanmar to implement all the recommendations laid out by an advisory commission on Rakhine State led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

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