UN rights chief, Indonesian leader talk Rohingya crisis

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: The UN human rights chief on Tuesday discussed the plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority with Indonesia’s president. During his conversation with President Joko Widodo in the capital Jakarta, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’d al-Hussein praised Indonesia’s role in providing assistance to the Rohingya refugees, an Indonesian official said after their closed-door meeting.

According to Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, al-Hussein also said he believes Indonesia could lead and mediate resolution attempts between the Rohingya and Myanmar. “Indonesia is one of the countries Myanmar welcomes with open arms,” Laoly said.

Widodo and al-Hussein also discussed at length the situation at the Cox’s Bazaar refugee camp in Bangladesh. Widodo last month visited Cox’s Bazaar to deliver 10.5 tons of aid from Indonesia. He said Indonesia has  been “consistent” in helping the Rohingya since last September, when it sent out 34 tons of aid in the form of food, blankets and medicines.

In addition, the Indonesian Humanitarian Alliance as well as several other humanitarian agencies have also set up camp at the settlement.

Al-Hussein reportedly said he hopes Indonesia can act as a role model to the world, in line with its status as the largest Muslim-majority democracy. More than 650,000 refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar since Aug. 25, 2017 when Myanmar forces launched a bloody crackdown.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012. At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a December report, the humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5. The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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