Rohingya Refugee Assistance and Public Awareness
JMD coordinates with local NGOs and government to accommodate refugees in East Aceh
Since the first refugee boat landed in East Aceh in 2009, JMD has been assisting the Rohingya fleeing Myanmar/Burma.
The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim minority living in Myanmar, who for several decades have suffered gross human rights violations at the hands of the Buddhist majority. This persecution has included the claim that the Rohingya are not Myanmar citizens, even though most have been living in Myanmar for centuries. They have been systematically denied employment, housing, services, and freedom of movement. They have been raped, tortured, beaten and murdered, and this activity has been condoned and encouraged by the government and the Buddhist clergy. For a good background history and updates, see the NPR and Sydney Morning Herald articles.
World attention has focused once again on their plight; between May and June 2015, thousands have been found either drifting at sea or reaching the shores of Malaysia and Indonesia. Earlier in the year several media outlets had begun to devote sufficient space to both the continuing human rights violations of Rohingya in Myanmar, especially concerning the brutal emerald trade, along with the latest discovery of mass graves of trafficked Rohingya in Thailand.
In 2009 JMD helped establish a refugee camp in Aceh Timur that served 200 refugees rescued by local fishermen. Hundreds more arrived on the coast of Aceh in May and June of 2015. JMD staff traveled to the camp in Bayeun, Aceh Timur, to confer with aid agencies on the ground.
The provincial government has sent representatives from social services, health and disaster ministries to work with UNHCR and local NGOs, volunteers and community members to assist the refugees. The Aceh Social Services Department is preparing all the meals at the camp, and UNHCR and IOM are taking care of refugee health and sanitation.
The camp only has enough supplies to run for 2-3 months, and more permanent housing is still being sought. Please consider making a donation to JMD; 100% of which will go directly to the purchase of meals for the nearly 400 men, women and children currently in the Aceh Timur refugee camp.