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Rohingya arrivals in Indonesia's North Sumatra increases

Publication Date : 06-09-2012


The number of Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar who have entered Indonesia illegally through North Sumatra from Malaysia has been reportedly on the increase during the last several months.

North Sumatra Justice and Human Rights Office Immigration division head Jumanter Lubis said 10 Rohingya illegal immigrants had arrived in North Sumatra this month. They entered the country illegally from Malaysia through the Tanjung Balai Harbour in North Sumatra.

"The 10 Rohingya immigrants are currently being examined by the police. They were caught moments after they entered North Sumatra and were trying to leave for Jakarta overland," Lubis told The Jakarta Post yesterday.

Lubis said police arrested 10 Rohingya on Jl. W.R. Supratman in Rantau Parapat, Labuhan Batu regency on Monday evening. They consisted of three men, three women and four children.

According to Lubis, the immigration authorities will bring the Rohingya to Belawan Immigration detention centre in Medan for scrutiny by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Unhcr).

Based on immigration data, 200 Rohingya immigrants in Medan have been examined and gained refugee status from Unhcr, 28 of them children.

Lubis said the Rohingya refugees who were examined by Unhcr were entitled to receive 1,250,000 rupiah (US$138) each in living expenses monthly.

According to Lubis, North Sumatra is currently listed as accommodating the highest number of Rohingya refugees due to the arrival of Rohingya immigrants in the province almost every month, while none of them were sent to third countries because no other countries wanted to accept them.

Lubis said the matter was different to refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka, whose relocation to third countries, like Australia, was always smooth.

"This is the task of the Unhcr to be able to equally send them on to third countries. We hope some of the Rohingya refugees will be sent to Australia so they won't spend much time and accumulate here," Lubis said, adding that Rohingya refugees had generally stayed in Medan for up to four years. They are accommodated in seven shelter homes in Medan.

Rohingya refugee Harun Rashed said he had stayed and moved around in North Sumatra for four years. He added that Unhcr officers had once promised to send him to Australia, but that had not yet materialised.

He claimed that he left Myanmar because he could not stand the years of oppressive treatment by the Myanmarese government. Despite that, he said he hoped that one day the Myanmarese government would no longer oppress the Rohingya so they could return to Myanmar.

"I will return to Myanmar if it is safe and peaceful and the government no longer oppresses the Rohingya people," said the father of two.


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