Indonesia’s Foreign Policy Regarding the Forced Displacement of Rohingya Refugees
This article analyses Indonesia’s foreign policy with respect to Myanmar and the forced displacement of more than 1 million Rohingya refugees from Rakhine State, Myanmar. Its main concern is to evaluate the effectiveness of Indonesia’s policies, including diplomatic efforts and humanitarian aid contributions, in regard to finding a solution to the ongoing disaster that affects both Rohingya remaining in Myanmar and those who have found temporary sanctuary in Bangladesh. For its diplomatic and humanitarian engagement, the Indonesian government has explored various avenues and utilised a range of instruments, including the purposeful engagement of non-state actors and faith-based humanitarian organisations. Our inquiry predominantly focuses on the time between the first Andaman Sea crisis (May 2015) and the second Andaman Sea crisis (mid-2020), not least because this is when Indonesia saw the arrival of Rohingya boats at its shores, which in turn fuelled local public interest in this matter. Our analysis pays special attention to domestic appeals from large Muslim organisations that sought to pressure the Indonesian government to become more proactive on behalf of the displaced and discriminated Rohingya. Yet, while a variety of Muslim organisations have at times demanded a more interventionist stance by the Indonesian government, their pressure has not been consistent or particularly successful. Therefore, it is likely the Indonesian government will continue to pursue its ‘quiet diplomacy’ efforts in order to balance the regional non-intervention paradigm and humanitarian imperatives caused by the forced displacement.