Three of the 293 Rohingya refugees who arrived in Indonesia after seven months of sea voyage last week have died, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which estimates 30 more died while voyaging from Bangladesh. .
More than a third of the group required medical assistance upon arrival on the island of Aceh, but three of the refugees – one man and two women, all under 25 years of age – did not survive. A UNHCR spokeswoman, Shabia Mantoo, has expressed the agency’s “deep concern” for the health of all of them.
Four out of five refugees are women and children, “many” without parents and some without a guardian. “At least one twelve-year-old boy was left without someone to look after him during the trip after his father’s death,” said Mantoo.
In addition to the “fragile physical condition” suffered by the majority after crossing Cox’s Bazar, there is also “severe trauma” resulting from the experience. “This tragic episode reminds the countries of the region that agile measures to offer (the ship) a safe haven would have saved dozens of lives,” complained the agency’s spokeswoman.
Unsurprisingly, the boat was rejected several times during its voyage, as has been the case with other boats in recent months. Human rights organizations have warned that these landings concerns put the lives of migrants and refugees on board at risk.