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Rescue dying Rohingyas on boats adrift in Aceh waters

Responding to the latest report of two boats adrift in Aceh waters Amnesty International Indonesia and Amnesty International Australia said:

“We urge the government of Indonesia to rescue the boats and allow them to safely disembark,” Amnesty International Indonesia’s Usman Hamid said.

“Many people, in Indonesia, Australia, and all around the world, are just ready to celebrate Christmas. The spirit of humanity that shows during Christmas must prevail in times like this.

“We also urge the Indonesian government to lead a regional initiative to resolve the refugee crisis.

Amnesty International Australia National Director, Sam Klintworth, said:

“Our minds are focused at this time of year on helping others, and as a wealthy nation Australia has the resources to be able to assist in this humanitarian crisis. We call on our government to step up and do whatever is necessary to avoid an unfolding tragedy so close to our shores.”

Background

On the evening of 23 December 2022, Amnesty International received reports from credible sources that two boats of Rohingya refugees were entering East and North Aceh waters.

Reports said that both boats are carrying children. No rescue efforts have been made as of Saturday at noon. One refugee from one of the boats allegedly died from hunger.

Earlier on 15 December 2022, one boat carrying between 180-200 people -of whom one third are female and 16 are children -was seen in Aceh waters. There is no verified information on where the current boats are coming from and whether they are coming from the same places as the previous boats.

The principle of non-refoulement obliges states not to return anyone to a place where they would be at risk of persecution or serious human rights violations. The principle is the cornerstone of international refugee protection and is fundamental to the absolute prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.