As part of IOM’s wider regional response in addressing the needs of displaced Rohingya, IOM will contribute to joint efforts with Government, international and local partners to provide emergency assistance and protection to boat arrivals to Indonesia, and will respond to the Government of Indonesia’s request for sustained, longer-term support to Rohingya women, men, and children.
This action will work in line with Presidential Regulation 125/2106, which sets a framework for the handling of refugees, specifically to achieve international standards in providing access to assistance, services and protection for the recent group of 99 Rohingya who arrived in Indonesia. Given the profile of the cases and the ordeal of boat journeys, an SGBV-sensitive approach will be mainstreamed, and targeted community engagement will be prioritized as part of maintaining local support and mitigating any stigma during the current health pandemic. Specific focus will be maintained on COVID-19 pandemic risks and health monitoring
Beginning in August 2017, more than 708,000 Rohingya left Myanmar for safe refuge in neighboring Bangladesh, and throughout 2020, Rohingya have started once again to traverse by sea onward towards Malaysia and Indonesia.
In May 2020, amid growing indications of boats full of vulnerable women, men and children at sea in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, IOM together with UNHCR and UNODC issued a joint statement calling for increased search and rescue efforts and safe disembarkation.
On 25 June, Indonesian fishermen spotted a wooden boat adrift off Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh, with 99 Rohingya onboard weak from hunger and dehydration after having set off from a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh and purportedly spending more than four months at sea.
The group includes 43 adults (30 women, 13 men) and 56 children. IOM collected detailed demographics and vulnerability information in collaboration with the GOI and UNHCR.
There are concerns – but to-date unconfirmed reports – about another boat still at sea with up to 500 Rohingya on board.
In coordination with the national-level Joint Task Force for the Handling of Refugees, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and local task force, IOM’s response team deployed to Lhokseumawe, Aceh is providing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya, including provision of clean water, non-food items, emergency health and psychosocial support, as well as facilitating coordination efforts on the ground.
IOM's rapid response teams include Rohingya language interpreters, who have provided ongoing, critical support services to the government, international and national partners.
Following COVID-19 rapid tests conducted by the district health office, IOM organized COVID-19 awareness and prevention sessions for the group in their native language.
On 10 July 2020, IOM assisted the local government to transport the group into a longer-term shelter, applying COVID-19 safety protocols.
Additional financial resources are required to meet the urgent humanitarian and longer-term protection, care and maintenance needs of the Rohingya while adapting to the situation in Indonesia.