22 MARCH 2013
Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims rallied at the representative office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Medan, North Sumatra, on Thursday,
The refugees from Myanmar asked the UNHCR to send them from their accommodations in Indonesia to other nations.
A spokesman for the asylum seekers, Sayed Husein, said that the Rohingya had been living in a shelter in the North Sumatran capital for four years and had each received a monthly stipend of Rp 1.25 million (US$138) from the UNHCR for living expenses.
“Everything has been adequate during our stay here, but we actually wish to seek for a better future,” Sayed said.
“We won’t have a future if we continuously take shelter here. We only ask for help so that we can immediately be sent to third countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US.”
Police were on hand to provide security during the rally.
The protesters could not meet UNHCR officials, who were at an off-site activity in nearby Belawan.
According to official reports, the number of Rohingya refugees currently living in Medan is 300.
The refugees, including several children, have been housed in several locations in the city, such as at the Hotel Pelangi and Asrama Pasar III on Jl. Bunga Kenanga.
Speaking to The Jakarta Post on the telephone, Ardhi, a representative of the local representative office of the UNHCR, said officials would listen to the refugees’ demands and visit them at their accommodations soon.