Indonesia: at least 180 starving Rohingya refugees reach Aceh after weeks at sea

Most of the refugees reportedly unwell due to starvation and weeks at sea, while at least one more boat believed to be still at sea

Harsh conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh and deteriorating situation in Myanmar driving people to flee

‘This year could be one of the deadliest in recent memory for Rohingya people making the dangerous journey by sea’ - Usman Hamid

Responding to the recent arrivals of Rohingya refugees in Aceh Besar, Indonesia, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid, said:

“Images of Rohingya refugees disembarking in Indonesia and lying on the ground exhausted from perilous weeks at sea are shocking and show the extent of suffering endured by men, women and children taking the dangerous journey.
  
“This year could be one of the deadliest in recent memory for Rohingya people making the dangerous journey by sea. They continue to risk it all because of harsh conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh, where security and other living conditions have deteriorated, and the ever-worsening situation at home in Myanmar, which has been under military rule since a coup almost two years ago.
 
“We urge the Indonesian government to remain vigilant, step up rescue efforts and work together with other ASEAN countries to help those in dire need at sea. Once rescued or allowed to disembark, Rohingya refugees should be given food, water, medical treatment and shelter.
 
“Under no circumstances should the authorities send anyone back to a country where they face persecution or human rights violations.”

Hundreds of Rohingya refugees

Yesterday, Amnesty Indonesia received reports concerning the arrival of a boat carrying at least 180 Rohingya refugees in Aceh Besar. Local sources said most of the refugees are unwell due to starvation and weeks at sea. This arrival followed an earlier boat of 57 Rohingya refugees that disembarked over the weekend and reportedly took a similar route from Bangladesh. Amnesty Indonesia has been told of at least one more boat still at sea. The vessels add to the overall number of Rohingya refugees in Aceh this year. On 15-16 November, Aceh saw the arrival of 229 Rohingya refugees.
 

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