US envoy lauds Indonesia for handling refugees

US envoy lauds Indonesia for handling refugees

Ambassador Robert Blake. (ANTARA/Yudhi Mahatma)

We positively welcome the agreement between Indonesia and Malaysia on being prepared to shelter some seven thousand refugees."
Jakarta (ANTARA News)- The U. S. Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake has praised the Indonesian government for handling the refugee crisis in Southeast Asia.

Speaking to the press after delivering a general lecture at Al Azhar Indonesia University (UAI) on relations between the U. S. and Indonesia here on Tuesday, Blake warmly welcomed the fact that Indonesia made search and rescue efforts on its own to check whether there were anymore boat people stranded at sea.

He also appreciated Indonesia for cooperating with other member states of the ASEAN affected by the issue concerning the refugees from the Bay of Bengal.

"We positively welcome the agreement between Indonesia and Malaysia on being prepared to shelter some seven thousand refugees," Blake added.

Earlier this year, about 25 thousand migrants, mostly Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi citizens, boarded ships to flee abroad.

According to data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), as many as 1,722 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar, including 244 children, are being sheltered in the westernmost Indonesian province of Aceh.

So far, the Social Affairs Ministry has extended assistance worth more than Rp2.3 billion to handle the Rohingya refugees given shelter in four different places in Aceh.

Moreover, on Wednesday, May 20, Vice President Jusuf Kalla affirmed that Indonesia was ready to help the refugees.

"We will assist them on humanitarian grounds. Of course, we will give them assistance by providing foods and accommodation," he remarked.

However, he pointed out that the government had agreed to provide shelter to the refugees only after establishing cooperation with international agencies.

(Reported by Roberto C. Basuki/Uu.H-YH/KR-BSR)

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