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.
Delve deeper: Myanmar divided
Simon is the founder of Foreign Brief who served as managing director from 2015 to 2021. A lawyer by training, Simon has worked as an analyst and adviser in the private sector and government. Simon’s desire to help clients understand global developments in a contextualised way underpinned the establishment of Foreign Brief. This aspiration remains the organisation’s driving principle.