Rohingyas land on north Sumatra beach

JAKARTA, 25 Dec 2022:

Dozens of Rohingya refugees, whose origin is still unknown, have been found stranded at a beach situated in the far north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, authorities told local media outlets today.

A total of 58 people ran aground on the coast of the village of Ladong, in the Aceh province, as they arrived there “suddenly” around 10am, local police chief Ipda Rolly Yuiza told reporters.

Rolly said the Rohingya group disembarked directly on the beach and it is still unknown where they have come from and how they reached the spot, as authorities continue to search for a boat that may have carried them.

The officer said some members of the group, which mostly consists of men, are sick and have been receiving medical attention.

So far, it has not been confirmed whether the refugees who have landed on the Ladong coast are the same who had been stranded onboard a boat for weeks in the Andaman Sea.

The boat had been carrying around 200 people and had been sighted close to the waters of Aceh in recent days.

However, local authorities in Aceh said yesterday they had been carrying search operations to locate this boat and insisted they would not refuse help in case it approaches the Indonesian coast.

The statement comes after the UN and many human rights nonprofit urged the governments of south and southeast Asia to act urgently to rescue the people onboard the boat, expressing concern over the health conditions of the passengers, including women and children.

In this regard, UN special rapporteur for Myanmar Tom Andrews said on Thursday that boat’s engine had broken down and its occupants were running out of food and water reserves, stressing that rescuing people stranded at sea was a fundamental rule of international law, included in various treaties.