PHOTOS: Life goes on for migrants in Aceh

PHOTOS: Life goes on for migrants in Aceh

Hundreds of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants were rescued by fishermen off the coast of northern Indonesia’s Aceh in May, at a time when the official response of the Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai governments to the ongoing migrant crisis was to push the boats back out to sea.

Those rescued are now being sheltered in four different camps in Aceh Province. While the conditions in the camps are far from perfect, the newcomers have been welcomed with open arms by the Acehnese people.

Acehnese singer and member of the Jakarta senate Rafly on 5 June held a concert in the city of Lhokseumawe, at which the migrant guests were also honoured with a performance of traditional Achehnese rapai pasee drumming – supposedly the same welcome that Marco Polo received when he arrived in Aceh many centuries ago.

While it has been announced that the Bangladeshi migrants will be repatriated at some point in the coming months, the future of the Rohingya in Aceh is uncertain. Facing apartheid-like conditions, and what some human rights groups have described as ethnic cleansing, in Burma, to many it is out of the question to send them back to their country of origin.

The process of resettlement of the migrants to third-party countries may take longer than the year that has been initially stated by the Indonesian government. But there are many Acehnese voices calling to allow the Rohingya to settle permanently.

A group of Rohingya refugees take a rest at Kuala Langsa Port camp, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, 23 May 2015. This camp shelters 231 Rohingya refugees from Burma and 425 migrants from Bangladesh who reached the Indonesian coast on 15 May after being rescued by Acehnese fishermen. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
Rohingya women at Bayeun Camp, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, 22 May 2015. This camp shelters 341 Rohingya refugees from Burma and 92 migrants from Bangladesh who reached the Indonesian coast on 20 May after being rescued by Acehnese fishermen. The boat in which they were travelling was repeatedly pushed back to the sea by the Thai and Malaysian navies. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
A Rohingya refugee receives an injection against tetanus at Kuala Cangkoi camp, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, 25 May 2015. Like others in the camp, she had never seen a syringe before. Terrified of the instrument, she was restrained by the Acehnese medical personnel in order to administer the injection. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
The boat used by human traffickers in the port of Lhokseumawe, Indonesia, 4 June 2015. This arrived to the coasts of Aceh on 10 May. It was packed with 620 Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi migrants. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
Rohingya man at Kuala Cangkoi camp, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, 26 May 2015. This camp shelters 330 Rohingya refugees arrived to the coast of Aceh on 10 May. 190 Bangladeshi migrants who were on the same boat are held in an immigration center some kilometres away. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
Acehnese singer and senator Rafly sings for Rohingya refugees at at Kuala Cangkoi camp, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, 6 June 2015. The previous day, he had given a concert in the city of Lhokseumawe to honour “Rohingya guests” in Aceh. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
Acehnese man plays traditional rapai pasee drums in honour of “Rohingya guests” prior to a concert by singer Rafly in the city of Lhokseumawe, Indonesia, 5 June 2015. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
A group of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi migrants pray at Bayeun Camp, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, 8 June 2015. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
Bangladeshi migrant at Kuala Langsa Port Camp, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, 7 June 2015. Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi migrants are sheltered in separated compounds because there was a fight between both communities when they were stranded in the same boat in which 100 people reportedly died. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
Bangladeshi migrants at Kuala Langsa Port Camp, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, 27 May 2015. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
A Rohingya girl looks at herself in the mirror after her mother has combed her hair at Kuala Cangkoi camp, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, 5 June 2015. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
A Rohingya woman prays at Kuala Cangkoi camp, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, 5 June 2015. (PHOTO: Carlos Sardiña Galache / Yayasan Geutanyoe – A Foundation for Aceh)
Leave a reply