Indonesian envoy to urge Myanmar to halt violence against Rohingya Muslims

An activist holds a sign during a rally in support of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, in Jakarta, Indonesia on September 3, 2017.

:: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has sent his foreign minister to Myanmar to urge its government to halt violence against Rohingya Muslims, he said on Sunday after a petrol bomb was thrown at the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta.

Jakarta police are investigating the incident, said spokesman Argo Yuwono.

A group of activists had held a protest at the embassy on Saturday, calling for the Nobel Prize Committee to withdraw the Nobel Peace Prize from Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, state news agency Antara wrote.

Protests continued on Sunday in Jakarta’s city center, with dozens of people calling for the Indonesian government to take an active involvement in efforts to end human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Indonesian President Widodo said he has sent Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Myanmar to hold “intensive communications” with invloved parties including the United Nations.

“Earlier this afternoon the Foreign Minister has departed to Myanmar to ask the Myanmar government to stop and prevent violence, to provide protection to all citizens, including Muslims in Myanmar, and to give access to humanitarian aid,” Widodo said.

Widodo added that concrete actions are needed and the Indonesian government is committeed to helping to solve the humanitarian crisis and that Marsudi will also travel to Bangladesh to prepare additional aid for refugees there.

Biggest challenge

The treatment of Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s roughly 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya is the biggest challenge facing leader Aung San Suu Kyi, accused by Western critics of not speaking out for the minority that has long complained of persecution.

Aid agencies estimate that about 73,000 Rohingya have fled into neighboring Bangladesh since violence in Myanmar erupted last week and an official said relief camps are reaching full capacity.

Refugees reaching the Bangladeshi fishing village of Shah Porir Dwip described bombs exploding and Rohingya Muslims being burned alive in a military crackdown.

Both Myanmar’s security officials and Rohingya insurgents are accusing each other of atrocities in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The military has said nearly 400 people, most of them insurgents, have died in clashes following rebel attacks on security posts.

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