News / Asia

Jakarta Pressing Burma on Rohingya Legal Rights

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa attends the opening session of the 46th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, June 30, 2013. (File)
Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa attends the opening session of the 46th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, June 30, 2013. (File)
Ron Corben
Indonesia is pressing Burma’s government to grant legal status to the country’s Muslim Rohingya. As more Rohingya seek asylum in Indonesia and elsewhere abroad, Ron Corben reports from Bangkok that Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa says Burma needs to take action to end inter-communal violence.

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, says Burma has to press on with democratic reforms and recognize the legal rights of hundreds of thousands of stateless Muslim Rohingya.

Burma - also known as Myanmar - has been wracked by sectarian bloodshed over the past year that has led to more than 200 deaths and displaced tens of thousands. Fighting began in communities with large numbers of ethnic Rohingya, who are denied citizenship in Burma.

Natalegawa, speaking to reporters in Bangkok Wednesday, says Indonesia is “encouraging” Burma to grant legal recognition to the Rohingya as an initial step to ease tensions.

“There is the issue of the status issue, which on the one hand is political as well as legal, which we are now encouraging the government of Myanmar to address in a fundamental way so that the Rohingya can obtain the kind of status and legal rights similar and akin to the rest of their countrymen,” said Natalegawa.

Burmese authorities have long excluded Rohingya from the ethnic groups recognized as Burmese citizens, claiming that they have always been illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

Natalegawa says there is a “huge sense of distrust” that now lies between the Buddhist majority and Muslim minority in Burma as a result of the sectarian bloodshed. He said Indonesia had to work through similar bouts of violence since the late 1990s as it moved towards democratization. He says Indonesia is ready to share its experience with Burmese authorities in rebuilding the communities.

“So we know there is an issue to be addressed but I believe that this is part and parcel of Myanmar’s democratization efforts," he said. "It cannot be treated in isolation so we must impress upon the Myanmar government as we have been, that to be able to transform democratically there must be at the same time, not sequentially, at the same time they must also address the issue of communal tensions and horizontal conflicts.”

Thousands of Rohingya have fled by boat on perilous journeys, with an unknown number perishing at sea, as they seek asylum abroad.

Indonesia is planning to convene a major regional conference this year to combat people smugglers and reduce the flows of boat people coming into the region.

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: john s from: hawaii
July 10, 2013 1:56 PM
Why give rights to people who only cause trouble wherever they live with people who don't believe in their way of life?
In Response

by: moha from: Columbus
July 11, 2013 3:18 AM
Hey John it is people like you who are causing problems everywhere in the world. You need to know the history of these people, they were chased away from their homes because they are muslims, they were banned from having more than two kids, how about that?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs