Government of Indonesia must launch serious efforts to solve crimes against humanity in Myanmar

PUBLIC STATEMENT

3 September 2017

Amnesty International Indonesia calls for the Indonesian Authority to actively participate in resolving the crimes against humanity in Myanmar. The dangerous escalation in violence between Myanmar’s security forces and Rohingya armed militia in the end of August 2017 has put ordinary people in Rakhine State at risk. Tens of thousands Rakhine population, with majority of Rohingya community, have fled fighting in Myanmar to seek safety across the border in Bangladesh after an armed conflict killed more than 400 civilians. The Government of Indonesia must urge the Myanmar authority to cease any form of violence towards civilians in the state of Rakhine.

People in Rakhine State, in particular the Rohingya community, have suffered a horrific catalogue of rights abuses for decades. Amnesty International has reported back in 2016 that security forces have been guilty of deliberately killing civilians, firing at random in villages, arbitrarily arresting Rohingya men, raping Rohingya women and girls, and destroying homes and property. (See Amnesty International report “Myanmar: ‘We are at breaking point – Rohingya; persecuted in Myanmar, neglected in Bangladesh”, available in https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa16/5362/2016/en/)

Government of Myanmar perceives Rohingya community and militia in Rakhine as threat against their sovereignty. Rohingya militia’s attack which caused at least 32 people dead, 11 among them were members of state security force on August 25, 2017 was deemed as potential power loss of the government over Rakhine State in Myanmar. Thus, the counter-attack was carried out to crack down the Rohingya militias which impacted the entire Rohingya community. However this ‘counter-attack’ was not the first to be used as a pretext of human right violations by Myanmar security forces. On October 2016, attack towards the police post on the northern part of Rakhine by Rohingya militias was entailed with military operation which later turned into serious human right violations against Rohingya community which may amount to crimes against humanity.

This situation was aggravated with series of arrest and murder towards human rights defenders in Myanmar whose works were to report human rights violations. Various persecutions had been suffered by human rights activists, pastors, journalists, lawyers, and anyone who was perceived as critical towards human rights violations committed by Myanmar security forces. This situation worsened the horror among the civil society, especially those who have pledged to promote human rights.

Considering the escalating tensions in Rakhine, the government of Indonesia must step up diplomatic efforts to push Myanmar to stop human rights violations against Rohingya. In addition, the government of Indonesia also must urge Myanmar to allow the fact finding mission established by the United Nations in March 2017 to enter Myanmar to reveal the truth about the crisis and to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice for the sake of the victims.  Inexistence of serious efforts to solve the crimes against humanity will only prolong the suffering of the victims.

Series of attacks in 2017 that led to human rights violations have forced Rohingya people to escape to find shelters in neighboring Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh must open its doors for the victims and ensure their safety at refugee camps. Amnesty International Indonesia calls on Indonesia and other ASIAN countries to accept Rohingya refugees and provide them with proper shelters.

Thereby, us, the undersigned, support this public statement:

  1. Marzuki Darusman, Chief of Fact Finding Team UN Human Rights Council
  2. Usman Hamid, Director of Amnesty International Indonesia
  3. Philip Vermonte, Director of Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  4. Magdalena Sitorus, National Commission for Women
  5. Maria Sumarsih, Jaringan Solidaritas Korban untuk Keadilan
  6. Puri Kencana Putri, KontraS
  7. Niccolo Attar, Imparsial
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