Rohingya refugees arrive by boat in a port in Lhokseumawe, Aceh, Indonesia on December 31, 2021. REUTERS / Hidayatullah Tahjuddin

KRUENG GEUKUH, Indonesia: More than 100 Rohingya refugees floating on a sinking boat off the west coast of Indonesia were allowed to disembark on Friday (December 31) after the authorities responded to international pressure In a video seen by Reuters, the refugees left the boat in heavy rain and boarded a bus while authorities sprayed them with disinfectant.

Oktina Hafanti, an officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told reporters that the 105 refugees would be quarantined and given health checks for 10 to 14 days.

The Rohingya group, which included children and pregnant women, was on It was sighted by fishermen on their wooden boat off the coast of the province of Aceh on Sunday.

The authorities had initially agreed to provide humanitarian aid before they boarded the ship f, however, changed that decision after warnings about the condition of the vessel and requests from UNHCR and groups like Amnesty International to leave the boat on land.

A fisherman who had approached the boat at sea said, the ship suffered an engine failure, was leaking and threatened to sink. He also said that some refugees said they needed food. Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International’s Indonesian division, said the government had reacted late but estimated the authorities were listening to the Acehn fishermen and had taken in the refugees.

Indonesia is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and is mainly viewed as a transit country for asylum seekers in third countries.

Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have been sailing between November and April in calm conditions for years See to countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Hundreds of them have come to Aceh at intervals over the past few years.

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