Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recorded 1,155 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar landed in Aceh in the last three years.

"We recorded 9 instances of the landing of Rohingya immigrant boats in Aceh in the 2020-2022 period, with total refugees of 1,155 people," Achsanul Habib, the ministry's director of human rights and humanity, said during a virtual meeting with Commission I of the Aceh legislature here on Wednesday.

He said that in 2020, a total of 395 refugees landed in Lhokseumawe district in June and September, and in 2021, 186 Rohingya refugees landed in East Aceh and Lhokseumawe districts on two separate occasions in June and December 2021.

The arrival of Rohingya refugees to Aceh surged in 2022, with the authorities recording 574 refugees landing in Bireuen, North Aceh, Aceh Besar, and Pidie districts on five separate instances in March, November, and December that year, he said.

"Observing the arrival time, we conclude that they arrived at the date when the Indonesian government focused on other affairs, and they exploited the opportunities (at that time). Moreover, Aceh is the closest (Indonesian) region to the Andaman Sea," Habib said.

Overall, there are a total of 12,616 foreign refugees in Indonesia --excluding 231 refugees who landed in Aceh in December 2022-- with the highest percentage being Afghan and Somali refugees, he added.

"Our record shows the largest number of refugees are Afghans, Somalis, and Rohingyas, and with other ethnicities, the refugees belonged to 51 different nationalities," he said.

Of the 12,616 foreign refugees, at least 6,994 are Afghans, 1,301 are Somalis, 856 are Burmese, 591 are Iraqis, and 2,874 belong to other nationalities, and they are mostly domiciled in the Greater Jakarta region, he added.

"The reason why Afghans and Somalis are the largest (foreign refugee) groups is because of crises in their country; they decided to seek refuge in Indonesia, but they plan not to make Indonesia their final destination," Habib remarked.

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Translator: Rahmat Fajri, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Anton Santoso
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