UNHCR welcomes Rohingya boat rescue and safe disembarkation in Sri Lanka

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, commends rapid actions by local fisherman and the Sri Lankan Navy to rescue and safely disembark Rohingya refugees from a boat in distress over the weekend.

Some 105 Rohingya refugees were reported to be adrift in the sea close to northern Sri Lanka, when sighted by fishermen. The Sri Lankan Navy was quick to disembark the rescued safely on Sunday, 18 December.

‘’We are grateful to the Sri Lankan navy and all who have acted to save lives,’’ said Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR’s Director for Asia and the Pacific. ‘’This is an example in humanity that all States in the region must follow to promptly and swiftly act to prevent the tragic loss of life at sea,’’ he added.

UNHCR is providing support to the Sri Lankan authorities for the immediate needs of those disembarked.

UNHCR repeats its appeal to all responsible States to rescue those in distress and adrift on the boats, allowing them to safely disembark in line with legal obligations and humanitarian traditions. It remains concerned on reports of another boat in distress in the Bay of Bengal, near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Some 161 refugees have been reported dead or missing at sea in 2022. Quick action is needed to save lives and avoid further deaths.

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