CNA Correspondent Podcast: Why do so many Rohingya refugees end up in Aceh, Indonesia?

Here’s an extract from the audio: &nbsp,

Teresa Tang:

These coasts were again inviting, but they have become hostile then. Some also voiced opposition to Aceh’s addition of more Rohingyas. What has changed? Why is there this backlash right then? &nbsp,

Chandni Vatvani:

Also Teresa, again, you know it’s fascinating, because if we look at Aceh, Aceh is Indonesia’s northernmost state. It is Indonesia’s only province that is authorized to practice Syariah law, which is a morally conservative territory.

Today we talk to people in Aceh, we talk to the visitors, and not just in the villages, but also in the investment Banda Aceh and we ask them this very issue, and some stuff stood up in their actions.

Number one: Some people expressed sympathy and understanding for the Rohingya refugees ‘ situation. They did, however, exceedingly feel that Indonesia was being taken advantage of. When smaller numbers ( of Rohingyas ) used to arrive in boats, they said it was okay for them, and it was okay by them, but this influx caused a wave of panic.

And again, if we look at Aceh, as of 2022, Aceh was in the bottom five poorest regions in Indonesia. Aceh has been doing better in terms of the poverty level and that statistic has been decreasing, though.

However, several people, especially the opening areas and within the having communities, people feel the problem, they say, of hosting the Rohingya in their vicinities and their communities worry that more is being done by authorities for foreigners more than locals…

Then there’s also the fact that people worry that Indonesia and in Aceh particular, may be a landing page for Rohingya migrants. You know some folks we spoke to, they say,” Oh, the Rohingya migrants, they cause trouble. They do minor atrocities”. We did learn about escaping from the camps from them as well. &nbsp,