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Indonesia to help rebuild homes for Rohingyas in Burma

The Indonesian government has appointed a former vice president to be a special envoy to offer aid to Muslim Rohingya in Burma, according to local media reports. 
Jusuf Kalla as vice president with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Photo:

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he has asked Jusuf Kalla, who is also the chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross, to accept the mission because he has experience in addressing sectarian conflicts. He is expected to arrive in Burma on Sept. 8.

Kalla said the Red Cross and other international groups, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, would deliver aid and start reconstructing homes for displaced Rohingyas next month. Thousands of Rohingyas' homes and businesses were burned during the unrest.

The president said he asked Kalla to be Indonesia's special envoy as a form of “solidarity with our Rohingya brothers,” according to the Jakarta Post.

Burma recently allowed the Indonesian Red Cross, along with other international humanitarian agencies, to send aid to refugees from the deadly conflicts between the Rohingyas and Rakhines in western Burma, which has claimed up to 87 lives and seen up to 5,000 homes and businesses burned.

On Aug. 7, Mizzima reported that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Burma had done its best to handle long-standing tensions in western Rakhine State. 

The statement, from the president of Asia’s most populated Muslim state, came amid growing protests against Burma’s handling of the ethnic unrest. 

The Indonesian president said he was trying to explain the situation in Burma “completely, properly and objectively, particularly after listening to reports from the Indonesian ambassador to Burma and Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.”

Yudhoyono said that the Rakhine-Rohingya conflict was communal instead of religious. “Coincidently, the Rohingyas are Muslims and the Rakhines are Buddhists,” he said.

“The Rohingyas originate from Bangladesh. However, even after four generations, Myanmar’s policy has yet to include them as one of the country’s 135 ethnic groups,” Yudhoyono said.
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