By DESSY SAGITA / JAKARTA GLOBE| January 5, 2013 |The Indonesian government plans to pledge $1 million in humanitarian aid to the state of Rakhine, known as Arakan, in Burma to help alleviate the sufferings of the Rohingya ethnic group there.
“In this difficult situation, we are informing that Indonesia has made a commitment to donate $1 million to alleviate the sufferings in Rakhine state,” Foreign Ministyer Marty Natalegawa said after reading out the annual year-end statement in Jakarta on Friday.
Marty is scheduled to visit Rakhine on Jan. 7 at the invitation of the Burmese government.
“The aim of my visit is to directly observe what the situation is in the Rakhine state, while also dissecting the existing problems and challenges there,” Marty said.
He added that the government continued to closely monitor the situation in Burma and will encourage the legal settlement of the Rohingya citizenship issue.
“We are saddened every time there is unrest and violence is used. This is a process and we are share the lessons learned. Indonesia in the past, also experienced similar situations,” the minister said.
During the visit, Marty said he will also broach socio-economic issues affecting people in Rakhine where many are still living below the poverty line.
Indonesia has been at the forefront of efforts to solve the Rohingya crisis in Burma after violence broke out between Buddhists and predominantly-Muslim Rohingyas in June in Rakhine, which left at least 80 people dead from both sides.
Indonesia was also sheltering some of the Rohingyas who had fled the country, or had been forcibly expelled from Burma.