Indonesia Turns Away Rohingya Stranded off Aceh, Sends them to Malaysia

Indonesian authorities said Tuesday they are sending the Rohingya refugees back to Malaysia. 

Navy Official Dian Suryansyah said Rohingya were not Indonesian citizens, and the army could not “simply bring them in as refugees.”

“This is in line with government policy,” Suryansyah added.

Despite calls from non-governmental organizations and the United Nations agency for the refugees to be accepted, Indonesian authorities were attempting to send the group back after providing supplies, clothes, and fuel, as well as a technician, to fix their damaged boat.

According to a local navy commander., the wooden boat with at least 100 people mostly women, and children, was first seen two days ago, stranded about 130km off the Indonesian coast.

Amnesty International and the UNHCR have called on the Indonesian government to let the stranded group of Rohingya refugees land.

The UNHCR also called on Jakarta to let the boat’s passengers disembark, pointing to the unseaworthiness of the boat.

Last year, hundreds of Rohingya who fled persecution in Myanmar arrived in Indonesia.

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