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Meeting acceptance, not rejection, migrants welcomed in Aceh

Meeting acceptance, not rejection, migrants welcomed in Aceh

As migration becomes a subject of heated debate, residents of Indonesia’s Islamic Aceh province are doing something more different, and heartwarming, among Southeast Asian nations.

From rescuing migrants at sea to donating all they can, residents of Indonesia's Islamic Aceh province are warmly welcoming hundreds of desperate fellow Muslims who have fled their homelands.

Many in Aceh, the only part of Indonesia that implements Islamic sharia law, are dismayed by the national government's policy and have opened their arms to those who have made it to shore.

A rally Tuesday attended by 100 people in the provincial capital Banda Aceh saw community groups demand more be done to save those still on the water, instead of turning them away.

Around 1,800 Rohingya and Bangladeshi boatpeople have landed in Aceh in recent days, abandoned by people-smugglers after their boat journeys to Malaysia were disrupted by a Thai crackdown on long-established routes, according to the Jakarta Post.

Thousands more are still believed to be stranded at sea with little food and water. The governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have insisted on turning back seaworthy vessels, despite appeals from the United Nations to take them in.

Updated : 2021-09-17 06:11 GMT+08:00