When Rohingya asylum seekers began arriving in waters off Aceh in May, the widespread sympathy they attracted from Indonesians contrasted with public indifference to other asylum seekers. Most notably, Acehnese fishermen rescued Rohingya asylum seekers at sea despite orders from the Indonesian navy not to assist them. What accounts for the Indonesian response to the Rohingya, what has happened to them since their arrival, and what would most likely happen if a new cohort of Rohingya were to arrive in Indonesian waters?
In this Talking Indonesia podcast episode, I explore these issues with Dr Antje Missbach, research fellow in anthropology at Monash University, and the author of Troubled Transit: Asylum Seekers Stuck in Indonesia. Dr Missbach recently returned from a research trip to Aceh, where she visited the temporary camps where these Rohingya are being accommodated.
This is the final episode of the fortnightly Talking Indonesia podcast for 2015. Look out for Talking Indonesia’s return in 2016 on 14 January. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen to the entire Talking Indonesia podcast via Stitcher.
Photo by Antje Missbach.