In response to news reports that around 247 Rohingya people are adrift in Aceh waters after attempting to land, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:
“The thwarted landing of hundreds of Rohingya refugees is a big step back for Indonesia, where communities have previously shown generosity and humanity towards those seeking safety after perilous boat journeys.
“The images of families, including babies and young children, attempting merely to find safety and shelter are heartbreaking and unbearable. People are in extreme danger at sea and in need of urgent rescue now.
“Hundreds of lives are in danger. We call on the Indonesian and other regional authorities who may come in contact with the stranded boat to immediately rescue those attempting to land, allow them to disembark safely, and provide humanitarian assistance, safety and shelter.”
On 14 November, a boat of 194 Rohingya refugees disembarked at Pidie, Aceh. Following this arrival, a boat of 147 refugees also entered Pidie the next day.
Local sources mentioned that both of the boats were welcomed and all individuals are currently located in a shelter.
On the morning of 16 November, however, another boat of around 247 refugees tried to disembark in Bireun, Aceh. A source told Amnesty International Indonesia that locals repaired the broken-down boat and provided food for its passengers. However, it got pushed back and tried to re-enter North Aceh waters in the afternoon, just to face another refusal.
Up to today, the boat is still seen adrift off coast North Aceh.