Approximately 250 Rohingya refugees on a wooden boat were turned away from western Indonesia and sent back to sea, residents said Friday, November 17.
The persecuted minority group arrived off the coast of Aceh province where the locals refused them to land. Some refugees swam ashore, but were pushed back onto their overcrowded boat. The vessel then traveled east to North Aceh but were rejected again. By Friday, it was no longer visible.
The Rohingya, risking their lives on dangerous sea journeys to Malaysia or Indonesia, has faced backlash from locals citing concerns about human trafficking. The rejection in Indonesia was supposedly linked to a lack of resources and the suspicion of smugglers.
The UN urged Indonesia to allow the refugees to land and provide assistance. Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project expressed disappointment in the local’s rejection, emphasizing the refugees’ victimization by traffickers.
The UN refugee agency reported another boat at sea, highlighting the ongoing risks faced by Rohingya refugees.