Sunday, April 19, 2009


Saya pernah mengulas tentang pelarian Rohingya dalam posting sebelum ini. Mereka dizalimi hingga ramai yang terbunuh tetapi tiada satu negara ummat Islam yang membantu mereka. Mereka dibiarkan tanpa pembelaan. Akibatnya ramai yang melarikan diri dan mati sewaktu dalam bot, aduhai seksanya kehidupan mereka.

Semacam ada satu perasaan yang timbul dalam diri saya apabila membaca nelayan miskin di Acheh sanggup membantu mereka apabila menjumpai mereka hanyut di perairan. Walaupun mereka sendiri hidup dalam kemiskinan, orang-orang Acheh ini sanggup membantu mereka. Hanya Allah sahajalah yang dapat membalas jasa baik kalian.

Jika sekarang orang Acheh membantu pelarian Rohingya, tetapi tahukan kita Acheh pernah selama 300 tahun mempertahankan aqidah ummat Islam di Tanah Melayu dari usaha pengkristianan oleh penjajah setelah kejatuhan Melaka pada 1511. Tetapi sedihnya usaha Acheh sebanyak 6 kali untuk membebaskan Melaka digambarkan satu serangan kepada Melaka. Banyak sungguh fakta yang telah diputarbelitkan dari pengetahuan kita.

Kembali kepada persoalan Rohingya, mereka layak menjadi warga Negara Islam. Tetapi tiada satu pemimpin ummat Islam yang sanggup mengiktiraf mereka sebagai warganegara. Jawapannya hanya kepada khilafah Islam. Semoga ia kembali tertegak, amin.


Indonesia’s Poor Welcome Sea Refugees

IDI RAYEUK, Indonesia — The only solace for the almost 200 men living in a squalid refugee camp here is the freedom they now have to pray.

“In Myanmar, if we pray, we are killed,” said Alam Shah, 38, a member of the Rohingya Muslim minority, who fled the predominantly Buddhist Myanmar last year. “I’m scared they will send us back there. It is a very, very dangerous country.”

The Rohingya here were found floating at sea on Feb. 2, after having spent three weeks aboard a wooden boat with no motor, no food and no water. When they were found by an Indonesian fisherman off the coast of Aceh, Indonesia’s northernmost province, many were close to death.

A few months before, another boat with about 200 Rohingya refugees landed in Sabang, on the northern tip of Aceh, where they are now being held at a naval station. Several more boats were found by the Indian coast guard carrying almost 400 Rohingya.

Research by nongovernmental organizations suggests that all the refugees had passed through detention camps on islands just off the coast of Thailand. According to interviews with the refugees, the Thai military towed and abandoned at least six boats at sea between November and January, when the international news media picked up the story and the so-called push-backs were halted.

The expulsions reversed a policy in which Thailand had allowed thousands of Rohingya to land in recent years, mostly on their way to Malaysia. The Thai military had denied accusations of pushing the refugees out to sea, but Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand said in February that some boats had been towed out to sea and that he intended to investigate.

About 1,200 men are known to have been pushed out to sea, more than 300 of whom drowned, according to the Arakan Project, a nongovernmental human rights group. There are fears, however, that many more Rohingya from Bangladesh and Myanmar, formerly Burma, are still missing.

“It is difficult to say what the exact numbers are,” said Chris Lewa, an expert on Rohingya issues who runs the Arakan Project. “But based on the interviews we have done with refugees that have ended up in India and Indonesia, we think there were many more push-backs than have been confirmed.”

“What does seem clear,” Ms Lewa said, “what is consistent among all the interviews we have done with the refugees, is that they were detained on islands off the coast of Thailand before being towed out to sea and set adrift by the Thai military.”

Last week, after months of delays, the United Nations began the process of “status determination” for the 391 men being held in Idi Rayeuk and Sabang. The process, a series of interviews with refugees, will determine if they are in need of protection and can stay in Indonesia, or if they are economic migrants who should be returned to Myanmar.

At the same time, on the resort island of Bali, leaders from around Southeast Asia, including from Myanmar, are beginning discussions about regional migrants, including the Rohingya.

Indonesia, which regional analysts have praised for its leadership in matters like human rights, disaster reconstruction and other issues involving Myanmar, fears a flood of thousands of Rohingya to its shores if the men in Aceh are allowed to stay.

“Indonesia is trying to play a leadership role in this situation,” said Lilianne Fan, a humanitarian worker who has worked in Aceh and Myanmar and is now advising the Acehnese governor.

“Compared to other regional governments, the Indonesians have responded very well, especially since they have engaged international organizations,” she said.

The United Nations estimates that about 723,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar, where the military government considers them foreigners and denies them citizenship, passports or the right to own land. There are also hundreds of thousands of Rohingya living in Bangladesh.

The Rohingya in Myanmar live mostly in the northern state of Rahkine and in the past fled through Bangladesh and into the Middle East. But new travel restrictions imposed by Bangladesh’s government have forced the Rohingya to find alternative destinations like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The process of status determination and the negotiations that will need to take place between Myanmar and Indonesia could take many months. Meanwhile, the few aid organizations in Idi Rayeuk are concerned that the camp is not equipped to house refugees for long.

The men were greeted generously by the local Acehnese, many of whom live in abject poverty themselves but can relate to the Rohingya’s situation. Many Acehnese here have family members who were forced to flee a separatist conflict that raged in Aceh for 30 years until a peace agreement was reached in 2005. Idi Rayeuk, in fact, was once a central launching point for Acehnese trying to flee the country.

“The support has been unreal and an inspiration for the rest of the world,” said Sara Henderson, president of the Building Bridges to the Future Foundation. “They are still giving free fish to the camp when they have barely enough to eat themselves.”

But the generosity of the Acehnese and the local government is nowhere near enough, Ms. Henderson said. The men still live in tents on wet, muddy ground. Sanitation, food and water remain basic, and security is almost nonexistent. Seven men fled the camp last Monday morning, apparently afraid they were about to be deported, but they were all later caught.

Several of the refugees are also suffering from serious health problems, like tuberculosis, but the camp lacks qualified doctors and money for health care.

The Building Bridges to the Future Foundation, which was founded in response to the December 2004 tsunami in Aceh, has been pressing for donations to help coordinate the camp and provide necessary logistical support. The local government has offered to provide a larger plot of land if money can be raised for necessities like temporary barracks, sanitation and food.

“The local community and the government do not have the funds to support a refugee camp of 198 men,” Ms. Henderson said. “They barely, and rarely, have the funds to take care of themselves.”

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