More than 130 Rohingya arrive in Indonesia's Aceh

It is the latest in a series of such arrivals that have drawn controversy in the Southeast Asian country

Reuters
Published : 1 Feb 2024, 05:58 AM
Updated : 1 Feb 2024, 05:58 AM

Over 130 Rohingya landed on the shores of Indonesia's Aceh province on Thursday, an official at the UN refugee agency said, the latest in a series of such arrivals that have drawn controversy in the Southeast Asian country.

The Rohingya, a persecuted religious minority in Myanmar, have faced rejection and hostility from locals in Aceh when they land ashore. Nearly 2,000 of them have arrived since October last year, UNHCR data showed.

Faisal Rahman, protection associate at the UNHCR in Indonesia, said over 130 Rohingya arrived in the East Aceh area on Thursday morning.

For years Rohingya have been leaving Myanmar, where they are generally regarded as foreign interlopers from South Asia, denied citizenship and subjected to abuse.

They often travel by rickety boats to escape poor conditions there or in camps in neighbouring Bangladesh. Some travel to Indonesia and Malaysia between November and April, when the seas are calmer.

In Indonesia, they have faced hostility.

In December last year, a group of university students in the city of Banda Aceh stormed a convention centre housing hundreds of Rohingya, demanding they be deported.

The UNHCR called the incident a "mob attack" that was the result of a coordinated online campaign of misinformation and hate speech.

At least 569 Rohingya have died or gone missing while trying to flee Myanmar or Bangladesh in 2023, the highest toll since 2014, UNHCR said last month.