IOM, Local Authorities Deliver Life-Saving Support to Latest Rohingya Refugee Arrivals in Aceh Besar

Jakarta/Aceh Besar — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and local authorities are providing life-saving assistance and meeting the immediate protection needs of the third group of Rohingya refugees to arrive by boat since mid-November 2022.  

The 57 males, including 13 minors safely disembarked in Mesjid Raya sub-district in Aceh Besar district early yesterday (25 December), with the support of local community members.  

The unusually male-only boat is believed to have set off from Bangladesh and spent nearly a month drifting at sea.  

While formal registration and identification have not yet been concluded, IOM’s emergency response team report that local health services were present at the disembarkation site and have assisted with urgent medical cases. Shortly after disembarkation, local authorities transferred the group to temporary accommodation in an unused facility belonging to the district Social Office.    

“Now more than ever, with concern so high for the welfare of other groups still reported to be at sea, we understand how risky these boat journeys can be, and we are pleased to be supporting the government and the local community in Indonesia to reach out, in a humanitarian spirit, to assist those in need of protection,” said Louis Hoffmann, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Indonesia.   

IOM has been coordinating closely with the National Refugee Task Force and local government to provide support to a safe arrival and will continue to work with partners to ensure healthcare (including COVID-19 testing), adequate shelter, water and sanitation, protection and mental health and psychosocial support needs are met in the coming days.  

IOM Indonesia currently assists over 7,000 refugees in Indonesia with comprehensive care and assistance, including accommodation, healthcare, mental health and psychosocial support, education, and basic needs.   

IOM also works closely with the Government of Indonesia to prevent and counter trafficking in persons, strengthen protection for labour migrants, improve disaster risk reduction and disaster response, and to support integrated border management systems with a particular focus on strengthening the handling of and preparation for pandemic response. 

With media reports of other boats still stranded at sea, including one where it is feared the significant loss of life has been suffered, IOM has once again urgently called on States in the region to uphold the commitments of the 2016 Bali Declaration as well as ASEAN pledges to protect the most vulnerable and ensure no one is left behind, particularly at this very challenging time globally. 

In a recent statement, IOM urged States in the region to work urgently and collectively to avoid a repeat of the 2015 crisis when thousands of men, women, and children faced tremendous challenges in accessing life-saving care and support resulting in loss of life at sea. IOM also reiterated that a coordinated response to save lives, inclusive of search and rescue operations and safe disembarkation, is urgently needed. 

“Governments and partners have come together before, to address this at the regional level. We recall the commitments to address irregular maritime movements and preservation of life at sea made through the Bali Process and the Regional Consultative mechanism. With the lives and safety of refugees hanging in the balance, at the hands of smugglers, we once again call for urgent regional action,” said Hoffmann. 

IOM’s humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees arriving in Aceh is funded the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). 


For further information, please contact Ariani Hasanah Soejoeti at IOM Indonesia, email: , tel. +628122726308 or Itayi Viriri at IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email:

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