Indonesian fishermen rescued nearly a hundred Rohingya aboard a drift boat off the coast of Aceh province, a new rescue in addition to the one that occurred in Malaysia earlier this month and warning of a possible new crisis of refugees in the region. . / EPA / ZIKRI
Jakarta, Jun 25 . .- Indonesian fishermen rescued about a hundred Rohingya aboard a drifting boat near the coast of Aceh province, a new rescue that adds to the one that occurred in Malaysia in early month and that alerts about a possible new refugee crisis in the region.
According to the Indonesian Police, the ship, which was apparently sinking and whose engine had broken down, was carrying 30 minors, 49 women and 15 men – although the number of passengers varies according to the source – and was sailing about 4 miles north off the island of Sumatra when it was discovered by three Indonesian sailors.
« We urge the Indonesian authorities to ensure a speedy rescue, landing and protection for the refugees. These children, women and men could have spent weeks at sea, if not months, and their basic needs, such as food, clothing, must be ensured. , water, medicine and accommodation, « Usman Hamid, Amnesty International (AI) director for Indonesia, said in a statement.
The fishermen alerted the local authorities and rescued the Rohingya, who according to the police sailed from Burma (Myanmar) and are in front of Seunuddon beach waiting to be transferred to land.
In a statement collected by the Jakarta Post on Thursday, a police spokesman said a committee had been created to examine the health of the refugees and find them temporary accommodation.
RESCUE IN MALAYSIA
Earlier this month, Malaysian coastguards rescued 269 Rohingya who were also fleeing Burma aboard a vessel near the shores of north-western Langkawi island, where they are being held in immigration centers.
Those rescued in Malaysia have told authorities that dozens of other passengers died on the way, after which their bodies were thrown into the sea.
« International law obliges all countries to rescue and protect people at risk. Refusing to rescue them or, even worse, returning them to the sea are clear violations of international law, » said Hamid of AI.
According to AI, some 800 Rohingya have drifted for two months on ships in the Gulf of Bengal, while they are rejected by various countries for fear that they are carriers of the new coronavirus, although it is unknown if these two groups are part of those numbers. .
REFUGEE CRISIS IN 2015
These recent bailouts are reminiscent of the refugee crisis of 2015, when hundreds of Rohingya were adrift on boats in appalling conditions after dismantling a human trafficking network in Thailand and Malaysia, so the use of that route was reduced.
At the time it was estimated that just over a million Rohingya lived in the Burmese western state of Arakan (Rakan), but in August 2017 the Burmese army launched a military campaign against them, prompting the exodus to neighboring Bangladesh of more of 725,000 members of this minority and for which Burma faces an accusation of genocide at the International Court of Justice.
Burma does not recognize the citizenship of the Rohingya, whom it considers to be Bengali immigrants, and has subjected them to all kinds of discrimination for years, including restrictions on freedom of movement.