Accessibility links

Indonesia to Repatriate Burmese Migrants


Indonesia says it will deport 193 Burmese minority Rohingya boat people because they are economic and not political migrants.

The boat people are members of Burma's Muslim minority who claim they fled persecution in the mostly Buddhist country.

A spokesman for Indonesia's foreign Ministry said Friday that investigators have determined the migrants left their country to seek a better life. He said most of the Rohingyas came from Burma, but that several came from Bangladesh. He did not say when they would be deported.

The Burmese government on Friday claimed the boat people could not be from Burma because there is no recognized Rohingya minority in the country. Despite the denial, authorities said they would deal with the matter.

The 193 boat people are believed to be survivors of a group of about 1,000 Burmese asylum-seekers who have been set adrift by the Thai military since December.

Indonesian authorities rescued them off their coast in early January and are holding them in a camp in Aceh province.

India is believed to hold some 400 survivors on a remote island.

Rights group Amnesty International on Thursday appealed to the governments of Thailand, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Burma to abide by international laws on refugees and provide assistance for those in distress at sea. It called on Burma to stop the systematic persecution of the Rohingya minority, which it says is the root cause of the crisis.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

XS
SM
MD
LG