Indonesians urge end to violence against Rohingya
Indonesians from all walks of life on Saturday sounded the alarm over violence against the Rohingya minority group in Myanmar.
Dozens of members of the Community of Professional Care for Rohingya held a demonstration in front of Myanmar's Embassy in Jakarta, demanding the Southeast Asian country stop all violence against Rohingya Muslims.
"What the Myanmar government has done is beyond the limits of humanity," coordinator Irfan Gani was quoted as saying by kompas.com, a local news site.
Kompas reported that the protestors, including athletes, human rights activists, businesspeople, and politicians, carried posters saying "Save Muslim Rohingya" and "Expel the Ambassador of Myanmar", and expressed their anger at Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi by stepping on a poster of her labelled "The Inhuman Lady".
Tensions rose when police blocked protesters from getting closer to the embassy, but the blockade did not lead to a riot.
Gani said the government should stand firm with Myanmar by cutting diplomatic ties and recalling its envoy.
"We urge the government to recall the Indonesian ambassador to Myanmar, which is a form of our resistance showing that Indonesia does not approve of human rights violations," he said.
URGING LARGER ROLE FROM JAKARTA, UN
Separately, Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama -- which claims more than 50 million members -- also urged the Indonesian government and United Nations to play a bigger role in saving the Rohingya.
"As a country with the largest Muslim population, Indonesia should take part in saving the Muslim Rohingya Muslim group from Myanmar's military violence," Chairman Saifullah Yusuf told Anadolu Agency.
Yusuf said he hopes Muslims worldwide are praying for and offering help to the persecuted ethnic minority.
"To our Rohingya brothers, we all pray that God may give you steadfastness and strength. We all believe that God will be with those who are oppressed," he said.
Violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state on Aug. 25 when the country's security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya Muslim community. It triggered a fresh influx of refugees towards neighboring Bangladesh, though the country sealed off its border for the refugees.
Media reports said Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force, displacing thousands of Rohingya villagers and destroying their homes with mortars and machine guns.
The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.
A crackdown launched last October in Maungdaw, where Rohingya make up the majority, led to a UN report on security forces' human rights violations and crimes against humanity.
The UN documented mass gang-rape, killings -- including infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said that some 400 people have been slain during the crackdown.