Young Indonesian religious leaders met in Jakarta on Tuesday (05/09) to urge the government of the world's largest Muslim-majority country and the international community to put more political pressure on Myanmar to resolve the ongoing Rohingya crisis. (Antara Photo/Ari Bowo)

Indonesian Religious Leaders Unite, Demand End to Rohingya Persecution in Myanmar

BY :ALIN ALMANAR

SEPTEMBER 05, 2017

Jakarta. Young Indonesian religious leaders met in Jakarta on Tuesday (05/09) to urge the government of the world's largest Muslim-majority country and the international community to put more political pressure on Myanmar to resolve the ongoing Rohingya crisis.

The meeting was set up amid increasing public anger over violence against the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar's northwestern state of Rakhine, that has left hundreds of people dead and thousands displaced.

In a show of unity in Jakarta, leaders of several youth groups representing different religions, including Indonesia's second-largest Muslim organization Muhammadiyah, urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's government to take a tougher stance on Myanmar over what they called "legalized genocide."

The young leaders' call came on the heels of recent meetings between Myanmar leaders and Indonesia's foreign minister Retno Marsudi, who urged the Myanmar authorities to end the violence and deliver humanitarian aid to the Rohingya.

"We're calling on the Indonesian government to heap more political pressure [on Myanmar], because quiet diplomacy has not been effective," a statement released jointly by the religious leaders said.

Leaders of the Association of Indonesian Hindu Youth, the Association of Indonesian Churches Youth, and the Buddhist Youth of Indonesia attended the Tuesday meeting.

Nearly 90,000 Rohingya have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar for neighboring Bangladesh since violence escalated in late August, when attacks by Rohingya insurgents on Myanmar security forces led to a military counteroffensive that has killed around 400 people.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has come under increasing political pressure from the international community to end the violence.

"We are urging the United Nations to pay serious attention to the genocide against the Rohingya, and to bring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court," Tuesday's statement said.

SHARE