Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

UNHCR welcomes Indonesia's act of humanity, saving desperate human lives adrift at sea

Press releases

UNHCR welcomes Indonesia's act of humanity, saving desperate human lives adrift at sea

27 December 2022

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is relieved to see more than 200 desperate people being brought ashore to safety, in north-west Indonesia over the past few days. Many among them are believed to have been adrift for at least a month, without any help before being rescued.

Indonesian fishermen and local authorities rescued and disembarked two groups, some 58 on Sunday and 174 - including a majority of women and children, on Monday.

“We welcome this act of humanity by local communities and authorities in Indonesia,” said Ann Maymann, UNHCR Representative in Indonesia.

“These actions help to save human lives from certain death, ending torturous ordeals for many desperate people,” she added.

Those rescued are exhausted and dehydrated after one month of being adrift in the regional seas. Survivors among the 174 arriving yesterday told UNHCR that some 26 people have died during this long journey as conditions were dire onboard.

UNHCR is attending those brought ashore with local authorities and humanitarian partner staff. Many among those needed urgent medical attention to stabilize their condition. The agency is also rushing more staff and support to the communities and local authorities to look after those rescued.

More than 2000 desperate people are reported to have taken the risky sea journeys in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal this year. Nearly 200 have reportedly died. One additional boat with some 180 people is still missing with all passengers presumed dead.

Indonesia has helped to save 472 people in the last six weeks from four boats, showing its commitment and respect of basic humanitarian principles for people who face persecution and conflict. UNHCR urges other States to follow this example. Many others did not act despite numerous pleas and appeals for help.

States in the region must fulfil their legal obligations by saving people on boats in distress to avoid further misery and deaths.


For more information on this topic, please contact: