"(According to) the results of the meeting that I chaired with several ministries, there were some of our internal parties becoming part of human trafficking practices in Rohingya refugees. Some refugees were sent here to be sold. It is carried out by a syndicate," he remarked on Saturday.
He noted that the human trafficking case has been handed over to the National Police for further investigation into the parties involved in the case.
"We have handed over the legal issue to the National Police to immediately handle it because the head of the (human trafficking) task force is now the National Police Chief. Therefore, the investigation will be more effective," Mahfud said.
His ministry is focusing on resolving the socio-political problems of Rohingya refugees and has urged the public to be patient.
"We will focus to solve the socio-political problem. It is a humanitarian problem. They were forced to flee the country. Neighboring countries, such as Malaysia and Australia, have stopped receiving them," the minister noted.
He said that the government would attempt to strike a balance in handling domestic and humanitarian issues.
"We will consider giving humanitarian meaning to these refugees. (It is) because other countries had refused them, and they all came here," he stated.
Mahfud noted that the government had yet to discuss providing an island for the refugees' shelter.
"We have not thought about providing an island for them. However, we may provide temporary shelter," he said.
Earlier, the minister stated that 1,478 Rohingya refugees had arrived in Indonesia on December 5.
He also remarked that Indonesia had not signed the United Nations (UN) Convention on Refugees. Hence, the country is not bound by the UNHCR and is providing assistance to Rohingya refugees purely on humanitarian grounds.
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Translator: Rubby Jovan P, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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