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Indonesia offers formula to end violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

5th Sep 2017
Indonesia offers formula to end violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

By Hayati Nupus, Iqbal Musyaffa


JAKARTA (AA): Indonesia’s visiting foreign minister on Monday proposed to Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi a formula to bring an end to ongoing violence in the restive Rakhine state.

Rento Marsudi’s proposal came in the form of a “4+1” formula to end violence against the country’s Rohingya population.

“The four points make up the core elements that have to be quickly carried out to avoid the escalation of the humanitarian and security crisis,” Marsudi said.

Another plank of the proposal calls for implementation of the recommendations by an advisory committee led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

On Aug. 25, violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine state when the country’s security forces launched an operation against the Rohingyas. It triggered a fresh influx of refugees towards neighboring Bangladesh, though the country sealed off its border to refugees.

Media reports said Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force, displacing thousands of Rohingya villagers and destroying their homes with mortars and machine guns.

Marsudi, who met Suu Kyi in Myanmar’s political capital Nay Pyi Taw, said the Myanmar government would form a committee to carry out the implementation and an advisory body to monitor it.

The meeting between the top Myanmar and Indonesian diplomats also agreed on Indonesian and ASEAN involvement in aid distribution in Rakhine state.

“Indonesia always insists that aid should reach everyone who needs it, without exception, without differentiating between race and religion,” Marsudi reiterated.

Separately, a statement issued by Myanmar’s government said that the two leaders exchanged views on how Indonesia can help overcome the humanitarian crisis after alleged violent attacks by the ARSA group.

– Construction of Indonesian hospital

The Indonesian foreign minister also met the country’s military chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and other government officials.

“At the meeting, he explained her the real situation of ARSA militants attacks in northern part of Rakhine state which started from August 25,” said a statement from the Office of Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces.

Earlier, the Indonesian foreign minister, along with Indonesian Ambassador to Myanmar, and delegations arrived in Myanmar to discuss the prevailing situation in the Rakhine state and construction progress of Indonesian Hospital in Mrauk U town.

Marsudi said that the construction of the Indonesian Hospital is currently in its second stage, which is expected to be completed in two months. The construction of the main building will begin soon after.

Indonesia hopes that the construction will help the reconciliation process of inter-communal tensions in Rakhine State.

“The construction of the Indonesian Hospital is highly expected in the region, because it will improve the health services for all people in Rakhine State,” said Marsudi.

The building area is over 1000 square meters and the construction is done by Myanmar contractors and workers — including both Rakhine and Muslim people.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

A crackdown launched last October in Maungdaw, where Rohingya make up the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations and crimes against humanity by security forces.

The UN documented mass gang rape, killings — including infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people have been slain during the crackdown.

*Kyaw Ye Lynn contributed to this piece from Yangon, Myanmar

[Photo:  Rohingya Muslims, fled from ongoing military operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state,wait at the roadside in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh on September 04, 2017. Photographer: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/AA]

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