Today: Friday, 19 August 2022 year

Stricken boat with over 100 Rohingya Muslims allowed to dock in Indonesia

Stricken boat with over 100 Rohingya Muslims allowed to dock in Indonesia

A sinking boat with at least 100 Rohingya refugees was allowed to disembark early on Friday, after Indonesian  authorities relented following international pressure to allow the group to seek refuge.

The refugees left the boat in heavy rain and boarded a bus, while authorities sprayed them with disinfectant, Reuters quoting Oktina Hafanti, an official at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

All 105 refugees would be kept in quarantine for 10 to 14 days and undergo health checks, the local officials said. That group of Rohingya had been spotted by fisherman on their wooden skiff off the coast of Aceh province on Sunday.

The indonesian authorities had initially agreed to provide humanitarian aid before planning to turn the vessel away, but changed that decision after warnings about the condition of the vessel and calls from UNHCR and groups such as Amnesty International to let the boat land.

A fisherman who had approached the boat when it was at sea said the vessel had sustained engine damages and was leaking, and was at risk of sinking. He also said some refugees had indicated that they needed food.

Mr Usman Hamid, executive director for Amnesty International’s Indonesia chapter, said the government had reacted late but appreciated that authorities had listened to Acehnese fishermen and accepted the refugees.