Durian. Indonesia is investigating possible human trafficking and people smuggler in the case of Rohingya refugees who were found in Indonesian waters on June 24 by fishermen in Aceh province, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.
Marsudi said the issue was raised during June 30 meeting among foreign ministers of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Australia where Indonesia called all participant countries to fight transnational crimes.
Indonesian government decided to accept 99 Rohingya refugees – 36 women, 13 men, 43 girls and 13 boys – due to local society pressure after finding them floating at the sea in wooden boat in North Aceh on June 24.
According to Minister Marsudi, almost all of those refugees hold refugee cards, issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which means they should get international protection.
Those refugees have gone through covid-19 tests and none of them have been affected by the virus, she said.
Marsudi said for based on humanitarian ground, Indonesia has decided to shelter those refugees temporarily.
“Besides humanitarian factor, Indonesia will also go deeper on possibility that they are people smuggling and human trafficking victims,” she said in the ministerial meeting.
Therefore, Indonesia called other countries in the region to continue their cooperation against transnational crimes including people smuggling and human trafficking.
“I emphasized in the statement during the meeting that the main priority is to bring back Rohingya refugees to their origin country, in Rakhine state Myanmar in safely, voluntarily and dignified way,” Marsudi said. Myanmar is a member of Asean.
Domestically, Indonesian Foreign Minister have coordinated with various parties including with UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM) by having separate meetings on June 29 and June 30 respectively to discuss about the issue, Minister Marsudi explained.