Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA) - The Aceh Office of Indonesia's Law and Human Rights Ministry stressed that the handling of Rohingya refugees in Aceh must take into account the country's national interest.

Head of the ministry-Aceh Office, Meurah Budiman, made the statement while receiving a courtesy call of Ann Maymann, a representative at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR Indonesia), here, Thursday.

He said the Rohingya refugee crisis is obviously a humanitarian issue but its handling needs to take into account Indonesia's national interest.

During her visit, Maymann discussed with Budiman about issues of the Rohingya refugees being accommodated at several temporary shelters in Aceh.

Budiman emphasized that Indonesia has no binding obligation to shelter the Rohingya, as its status is a non-party to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

The country's Constitution, however, upholds the values of humanity, so that the Rohingya refugees are sheltered temporarily, he remarked.

He further explained that the handling of foreign refugees in Indonesia has been regulated in Presidential Regulation No.125 of 2016.

The presidential regulation explicitly necessitates coordination with regional governments in transporting and placing the foreign refugees from where they are found to temporary shelters, Budiman stated.

He remarked that the influx of Rohingya refugees into Indonesia, especially Aceh, continued while several locals refused their presence for social and economic reasons.

Hence, he suggested that related parties need to find a permanent solution to the handling of the Rohingya issue.

ANTARA had earlier reported on the local opposition to sheltering Rohingya refugees at a designated campsite in December 2023.

As a result, the refugees could not be sheltered at the campsite and were instead sent back to the Aceh Governor's office.

Regarding the Rohingya issue, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has called for a political solution to the matter, which is considered an inseparable part of resolving the Myanmar crisis.

During a meeting on the Rohingya issue on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the United States, Marsudi underlined that the future of Rohingya refugees remains uncertain.

At the same time, the global situation and conditions in Myanmar have made the issue more difficult to resolve.

"Resolving the Rohingya issue should be part of resolving the political crisis in Myanmar," she remarked.

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Translator: MHS Agus, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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