Indonesia’s foreign minister seeks to mediate Rohingya crisis

Indonesia’s foreign minister seeks to mediate Rohingya crisis

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will arrive in Bangladesh’s capital today to discuss providing aid to the 90,000 Rohingya Muslims who entered the country over the past week after clashes with Myanmar’s military beginning on August 25. Elements of the Rohingya—around 2% of Myanmar’s population—have been fighting the government for decades. The ethnic minority are

Rohingya Muslims flee Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will arrive in Bangladesh’s capital today to discuss providing aid to the 90,000 Rohingya Muslims who entered the country over the past week after clashes with Myanmar’s military beginning on August 25.

Elements of the Rohingya—around 2% of Myanmar’s population—have been fighting the government for decades. The ethnic minority are denied citizenship and basic services such as education. In 2012, violent riots between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims erupted in the northern Rakhine State, leaving almost 100 dead and 100,000 displaced. Reprisals and counter-reprisals continued and intensified last October following attacks by Rohingya militants on government troops.

The issue is one of the most pressing facing the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who met with Indonesia’s foreign minister yesterday.

But Ms Suu Kyi must be careful—her domestic popularity will suffer if she takes a pro-Rohingya stance. On the other hand, she’s at risk of further damaging her status as a Nobel Prize-winning defender of human rights. Further complicating the situation is the country’s strong military, which will prove difficult to rein in.

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