On February 9, an envoy led by outgoing Indonesian Ambassador to Myanmar Ito Sumardi visited Taung Pyo Letwea, Nga Khu Ya and Hla Pho Khaung in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar where reception centers were built for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.


He claimed that there was no evidence of mass graves or “any indication of Myanmar’s authorities would have committed acts amounting to ethnic cleansing.”


The European Rohingya Council (ERC) unequivocally rejects Mr. Sumardi’s statement after visiting the highly controlled-tour organized by Myanmar government and the military, and is disappointed to learn that the Indonesian delegation has naïvely believed what the government and the military showed them and brought them to the places which the government has begun bulldozing and covering up of evidence of the atrocities long before international delegations were allowed.


Former U.N. Special Rapporteur Ms. Yanghee Lee who has visited the northern region in Myanmar and the refugee camps in Bangladesh before she was barred by Aung San Suu Kyi’s government for her final mission to investigate in what she described “a hallmark of genocide” being observed in the process of expulsion of more than 650,000, destruction of over 355 villages, killing of more than 10,000 Rohingya including women, children and older people, and committing rape and sexual violence against hundreds of Rohingya women since August 25, 2017.


While speaking at the 72nd U.N. General Assembly in September 2017, H.E. Mr. Jusuf Kalla, Vice-President of Indonesia stated that, “sustaining peace and the development agenda… required a society that was just, inclusive and respectful of human rights. There should be no man-made humanitarian crises”.


In December 2017, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi and her envoy travelled to Bangladesh refugee camps where she was recounted with the horror stories of Rohingya refugees. She left the refugee camps convinced, “we have to work harder to help them.”


“Working harder” will require Indonesia, a member of ASEAN bloc, to support human rights to incubate stability in the region by encouraging Myanmar into being a far more peaceful and caring nation for all of its people, and practice the true Democratic values and principles which warrants everyone including Rohingya equal rights, justice and security of lives and properties.


As the future of persecuted Muslim community depends on regional and global playmakers, it is essential for the world’s largest Muslim country to represent the community without compromising the victims of genocide in bringing dignity, justice, equality and fairness, and creating the most credible set of long-terms solutions to resolve the instability that engulfs the region.


Therefore, the European Rohingya Council asks the Indonesia U.N. representative to take the lead in allowing the U.N. mandated independent fact-finding mission in Myanmar to investigate the evidence of genocide, which have been substantially documented by various human rights organizations, schools, universities and independent researchers over the years since the policies of genocide were ingrained against Rohingya by the successive Myanmar governments. The longer it takes to allow the team in northern Rakhine State, the better it is for the government of Myanmar and the military to attempt in covering up and denying the evidence of genocide, and the lesser it is for the victims of genocide to have their justice back. The European Rohingya Council also dismisses Mr. Surmadi’s statement and would encourage him to visit the refugee camps in Bangladesh, and study the findings of various institutions and experts on genocide.



For more information:

Ardith Bell-Bshara



THE EUROPEAN ROHINGYA COUNCIL [ERC] is an Amsterdam based European umbrella organisation in Europe.