Friday, 10 July 2020 00:00

Covid-19 Pandemic and Rohingya Refugees

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Certainly, the world does not forget the Rohingya (/ roʊˈɪndʒə, -hɪn-, -ɪŋjə /), ethnic Muslims who originally settled in Myanmar and are now refugees. Evicted from their places of origin, in various ways, including using boats, they are trying to find safer places in other countries. Conditions are increasingly difficult when the Rohingya Muslims still try to find new locations to evacuate in the condition of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The countries they are aiming to are currently trying to limit the arrival of foreigners to prevent the spread of the Covid-19. Malaysia, which is often the main destination  of the Rohingya refugees, firmly states that it cannot accept them because of domestic conditions that are busy facing the Covid-19 pandemic. The current condition of Rohingya people is also worsened by the push-back policy of another destination country, Thailand.

The Rohingya refugees are forced to leave their settlements that have been inhabited from generation to generation due to the violence of the Myanmar government which leads to genocide or ethnic extermination, especially in 2017.

More than 1 million Rohingya people are now in Bangladesh, a neighboring country that is said to be the place of origin of this ethnicity. The Rohingya themselves claim they are native to West Myanmar but have never obtained clear citizenship status from the Myanmar government.

In Bangladesh, Rohingya people are crammed into refugee camps that are crowded with conditions far from decent. It is planned that they will be sent back to Myanmar.

Certainly, a breath of fresh air when for humanitarian reasons Indonesia would be willing to accommodate Rohingya boat people in the waters of Aceh at the end of June. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic conditions faced by all countries, Indonesia welcomed Rohingya refugees with open arms. Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi said that she would move the location of 99 Rohingya people in Aceh to a more suitable place. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees -UNHCR has officially recorded the Rohingya refugees who were housed in Aceh.

The question is that amid the current Pandemic atmosphere, what should the countries which are often the destinations  of Rohingya refugees do? There is a dilemma. Because amid the Covid-19, there is a burden of humanitarian responsibility that must be accounted.

Indonesia has answered that by putting forward a sense of humanity. It remains to be seen how other countries will also react in the face of the number of Rohingya refugees who continue to look for new destinations amid the ongoing pandemic that nobody knows when it will be over.

Read 117 times Last modified on Monday, 13 July 2020 18:48