Indonesia says will turn away stricken boat of Rohingya refugees


  • World
  • Tuesday, 28 Dec 2021

A boat carrying Rohingya refugees, including women and children, is seen stranded in waters off the coast of Bireuen, Aceh province, Indonesia, December 27, 2021, in this still image taken from a video. Video recorded on December 27, 2021. Aditya Setiawan via REUTERS

BIREUEN, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesian authorities will help repair a stranded boat packed with over 100 Rohingya off its coast but will not allow its passengers to seek refuge in the Southeast Asian country and will turn the vessel away, officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

Fishermen spotted the skiff on Sunday, adrift off the coast of Bireuen, a district on the western island of Sumatra, with around 120 men, women and children on board.

"The Rohingya are not Indonesian citizens, we can't just bring them in even as refugees. This is in line with government policy," said Dian Suryansyah, a local navy official.

Authorities would provide humanitarian aid to the stricken vessel, including food, medicine and water, before turning it away, he added.

Indonesia is not a signatory to the 1951 U.N. Convention on Refugees and is predominately seen as a transit country for those seeking asylum to a third country.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement on Tuesday that the boat had suffered engine damage and should be allowed to land.

"UNHCR is concerned about the safety and lives of the refugees on board," the statement said.

Badruddin Yunus, a local fishing community leader, said that the refugees had been at sea for 28 days and some of them had fallen ill and one had died.

Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar have for years sailed to countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia between November and April when the seas are calm. Many have been turned away, despite calls for assistance by international rights groups.

More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in August 2017 after a military crackdown that refugees said included mass killings and rape. Rights groups have documented killings of civilians and burning of Rohingya villages.

Hundreds have reached Indonesia over the last few years, after months at sea.

(Writing by Stanley Widianto; Editing by James Pearson)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

Analysis: Erdogan's vow to expand Syria operations raises stakes in Turkey-NATO row
EU proposes to make seizing assets easier, including of sanctioned oligarchs -document
Saudi foreign minister says some progress in talks with Iran
At least 11 killed in central Mexico in apparent gangland attack -media
Insecurity, battle with lawmakers clouding presidency of Ecuador's Lasso
Argentine bills strain wallets (literally) amid inflation drain
Russia launches all-out assault to encircle Ukraine troops in east
U.S. climate envoy Kerry says Ukraine war no excuse to let up on climate fight
Russia has not seen Italian peace plan for Ukraine
L'Oreal CEO says no inflation impact so far on beauty product consumption

Others Also Read