Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A deep sense of humanity for Rohingya prevails in Aceh by Fardah

Jakarta (ANTARA) , July 1, 2020- The smiles are again back on the faces of Rohingya children after being rescued from a sinking boat and currently being accommodated in an abandoned immigration building in Blang Mangat, Lhokseumawe, Aceh.

The 35 Rohingya children are part of the total 100 Rohingya refugees, who were rescued by three Aceh fishermen -- Faisal, Abdul Aziz, and Raja -- on hearing their audible cries after their damaged boat began sinking in the Malacca Strait waters. 

The three fishermen moved the refugees, including 48 women, to another boat and pulled them near the North Aceh shore on June 24, 2020.

The local authorities, petrified of the spread of the COVID-19 disease, prevented the refugees from disembarking and pushed the boat back to sea after giving them food and drinking water.

The local villagers were moved at witnessing the plight of children and women crying for help while their boat was pushed back from Lancok Beach in Syantalira Bayu Sub-district, North Aceh District, and attempted to reason with several officers. They insisted that the refugees be allowed to disembark on Aceh land.

In the afternoon of June 25, amid extreme weather, strong winds, and dark cloudy skies, several villagers took it upon themselves to evacuate the refugees without awaiting the authorities’ approval.

“We will pull the boat back and feed them here,” Nasruddin, one of the villagers, stated.

With a strong sense of humanity and empathy, the villagers took the bold move, as there were infants, children, and old women aboard the boat. 

Friday, June 26, 2020


Jakarta, 27/6/2020 (Antara) - With Indonesia still in the grip of the coronavirus, which is known to cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), forest fires and the associated smog could potentially spell a double disaster, suffocating people and animals.

Wildfires are normally known to occur every year on Sumatra and Kalimantan islands during the dry season. They often produce smog that can shroud neighboring countries, particularly Malaysia and Singapore.

This year, the peak dry season is forecast for August and September.

During a limited cabinet meeting chaired by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in Jakarta on June 23, 2020, Doni Monardo, chief of the Task Force for the Acceleration of COVID-19 Response, cautioned that heavy smoke from forest and land fires, especially peatlands, could adversely impact public health and increase risk of people contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

"Heavy smoke can pose a health threat to the community, particularly those ailing from asthma or ARI (acute respiratory infection). The impact could be dangerous for asthma patients when exposed to COVID-19," Monardo said.

Hence, Jokowi has ordered his ministers to take precautionary steps against forest and land fires, Monardo added.

He stressed the need for closer cooperation between all sections of the community in all regions to mitigate forest and land fires, particularly in fire-prone areas.


Jakarta, 27/6 , 2020(Antara) - There has been no grand celebration to commemorate Jakarta's 493rd anniversary this year as the Indonesian capital has been preoccupied with the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there has been cause for cheer thanks to news of Jakarta finally managing to bring the infection relatively under control. According to a UI report, the effective reproductive number (Rt) for the city has slid to 0.98 in June this year from 4 in March.

"(I have just received) a report from the team of the Public Health Faculty of the University of Indonesia (UI) that shows that during the past two weeks, under the transition period, the outbreak has been brought under control," Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan remarked during a modest commemoration ceremony at the city hall on June 22, 2020.

Home to a population of around 11 million, Jakarta emerged as the country's first COVID-19 epicenter, following President Joko Widodo's announcement of Indonesia's first confirmed cases on March 2, 2020.

On March 16, prior to the governments enactment of large-scale social distancing measures, Jakarta recorded its highest Rt of 4, while the threshold is 1, based on the assumption that every 100 people infected with COVID-19 would transmit the disease to 400 others.

On April 10 this year, the figure dropped to 1.5, and currently, it has dipped below one, thanks to the hard work put in by all Jakartans, Baswedan said.

"This is such a present for Jakarta's people as we celebrate the anniversary, since the pandemic that was rampant is currently being brought under control," he remarked.

On June 24, 2020, Jakarta added 195 fresh COVID-19 cases, bringing its total count of confirmed cases so far to 10,472.

The capital city registered 112 recoveries and three deaths the previous day, Fify Mulyani, head of Jakarta's Public Health Office, said.

The metropolitan city has so far registered 5,434 recoveries, while the death toll has been recorded at 631, she noted.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Clamor grows for ending trafficking, slavery on the seas by Fardah

Jakarta , June 16, 2020 (ANTARA) - On June 5 this year, two sailors — Reynalfi, 22, and Andri Juniansyah, 30 — jumped off Chinese-flagged fishing vessel Fu Lu Qing Yuan Yu 901 as soon as it entered Indonesia's territorial waters in the Malacca Strait.

After about seven hours adrift, they were rescued by local fishermen from Tanjung Balai Karimun,  Riau Island, Sumatra. 

The two Indonesian crew members reportedly decided to jump off the vessel because they could not withstand the treatment they received on board. They cited lack of food and drinking water and being forced to work very long hours as reasons for jumping overboard. They also claimed they were intimidated and physically harmed, either by the ship’s captain or by Chinese crewmen.

The two Indonesian citizens were allegedly victims of human trafficking, according to a report by Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW).

“The allegation of forced labor emerged after we found violations such as unpaid wages, poor working conditions, threats and intimidation, [all of] which Andri Juniansyah and Reynalfi experienced,” DFW Indonesia coordinator M. Abdi Suhufan told the media.

According to DFW data, at least 30 Indonesian crew members have been victims of such violations on board Chinese vessels between November, 2019 and June, 2020. Seven of the crew reportedly died, three remain missing, and 20 have survived. 

With several cases coming to light, the DFW has called for a moratorium and evaluation of the policy of sending Indonesian seafarers to work on Chinese-flagged fishing vessels.

There have been allegations of human trafficking and forced labor against irresponsible perpetrators at home, who have been sending Indonesian seafarers to work on Chinese fishing boats, Suhufan noted.

Reports on the ill-treatment of Indonesian fishermen on Chinese fishing boats have triggered an uproar in the world’s largest archipelagic country.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Collective action urged against Israel plan to annex West Bank by Fardah

Jakarta, June 16, 2020 (ANTARA) - With the colonial regime in Israel expanding its territories by occupying more Arab lands, the international community has been urged to prevent Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank, and help realize the independence of the Palestinian state, based on the borders drawn in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.


The call was voiced by the OIC Executive Committee at the conclusion of its Extraordinary Open-Ended Ministerial Meeting, held virtually on June 10, 2020, some 20 days before Israel is scheduled to implement its planned annexation of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, beginning July 1. 


The OIC has called on the international community to take steps against the Israeli occupation and its colonial practices that jeopardize the fundamentals of the rule-based international order, the organization of Muslim majority countries said in a 15-point resolution, which was adopted at the meeting that was also attended by Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi.

The OIC has also asked the international community to take the necessary legal countermeasures, including refraining from dealings with any Israeli government that endorses an annexation agenda, imposing economic and political sanctions on Israel, and boycotting the Israeli colonial system, and illegal Israeli settlements and their products.


In addition, the OIC has urged its members to take the necessary political, legal, and economic measures to address the Israeli threat to the occupied Palestinian territory.

The resolution also calls on all states to pressure the Israeli occupation authorities to ensure the release of Palestinian prisoners, especially the sick, the elderly, children, and women, and to protect them from the risk of COVID-19 infection.


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Indonesian regions brace for reopening of tourism attractions amid COVID-19 pandemic by Fardah

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has brought the tourism sector to a screeching halt, resulting in the collapse of tourism-related industries comprising aviation, hotel, restaurant, and other travel and hospitality businesses worldwide.

With the COVID-19 pandemic lingering on since early this year, several nations are currently migrating at a measured pace, from crises management to recovery efforts, especially to breathe new life into the tourism sector that has been the foremost and worst affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Indonesia is one of the nations that is keen to initiate efforts to usher in recovery in their tourism and hospitality industries that have been dealt a debilitating blow by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, Indonesia’s several regions registered no tourist arrivals, thereby leaving hotels, travel agents, and related services with no choice but to close down.

As the government announced a plan to transition from the large-scale social distancing measures (PSBB) to the new normal concept, several regions are also prepping to revive the tourism industry.

Bali, one of the world’s most popular resort islands, in cooperation with the Tourism Creative Economy Ministry, is currently preparing health protocols for tourism in the new normal.

However, the Bali provincial administration is yet to take a decision on when to reopen the island for tourists.

However, if it is decided to reopen it gradually, the local government will be selective in receiving international tourists and will enforce stringent health protocols.

Monday, June 8, 2020


Jakarta, 9/6/2020 (Antara) - The lingering COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious damage, socially and economically, around the world.

As of June 9, 2020, the novel coronavirus disease has claimed 409,104 lives, with over 7 million people contracting the infection in 213 countries and territories.

Economically, the outbreak has triggered economic collapse, leading to closure of businesses, job losses, and poverty, particularly in developing countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as an unprecedented global shock that has magnified the impact of inequality, hitting the poor the hardest, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

On the other hand, with people forced to lock themselves at home to break the chain of the virus spread, people in big cities particularly have been able to enjoy fresh air as pollution has reduced significantly. The sky in Jakarta is blue and the river is cleaner as there is much less human activity.

The healing seen in nature, however, would be temporary, if people do not change the way they conduct businesses once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

As governments around the world are racing to implement economic stimulus and support packages to keep individuals, businesses, and economies afloat, IISD has reminded that these measures must pave the way to a more sustainable economy and development.


Jakarta, 7/6 (Antara) - The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has brought the world to a standstill, with people around the globe confined to their homes over the last three months at least to break the chain of virus transmission.
As countries race to develop vaccines against COVID-19, their tourism and hospitality industries, which have been crippled by the pandemic, are trying to revive and adapt their businesses by implementing stringent health protocols.
Tourism and hospitality industries are now working to ensure guests and clients stay safe, healthy and comfortable by implementing physical distancing measures and stringent health protocols.
Tourists are being advised to stay safe and travel responsibly by following the WHOs simple, but effective, guidelines, such as washing hands regularly and thoroughly, avoiding shaking hands or touching the face, staying away from crowded places, and where possible, maintaining at least one-meter distance from other people.
Indonesia is one of the countries that are eager to initiate a recovery in their tourism and hospitality industries, which have been dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Central Statistics Agency (BPS) head Suhariyanto, foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia fell sharply by 87.44 percent to 160 thousand in April, 2020 from 1.27 million in April, 2019. Compared with March, foreign tourist arrivals declined 66.02 percent in April.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Police, military roped in to edify public on new normal protocols Fardah

Jakarta, June 1, 2020 (ANTARA) - After imposing large-scale social distancing (PSBB) measures for less than two months, the Indonesian government has switched its focus to the implementation of a new normal amid the prolonged COVID-19 epidemic.

  The decision has been prompted by indications that it may be a while before a vaccine against the deadly virus is developed.

The government has stressed that the new measure does not imply a relaxation, but is being promulgated as it has now become necessary to resume certain office and business activities as the country's economy, particularly the tourism industry, has been hit hard by the continued pandemic.

The novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China last year, has forced people across the world to change the way they lead their lives and find ways to co-exist with COVID-19 through the observance of health protocols to prevent an infection till the time a coronavirus vaccine is developed.

Under the new normal, people will be expected to carry out their daily activities while giving priority to personal safety and preventive measures against COVID-19.

In preparation for the transition to the new normal, the Health Ministry has been drafting health protocols to ensure that people stay safe and healthy while carrying out routine and productive activities.