Stricken refugee boat allowed to dock in Indonesia

A boat that had been stranded with more than 100 Rohingya Muslims onboard was allowed to dock in Indonesia early on Friday.

The refugees include pregnant women and children, and had been adrift off the country's west coast on what many had warned was a sinking vessel.

Only after international pressure did Indonesian authorities relent and allow it to dock.

The refugees were sprayed with disinfectant as they left the boat and boarded a bus in heavy rain.

Oktina Hafanti, an official at the UNHCR, said they will now be kept in quarantine for up to 14 days and undergo health checks.

Local fishermen first spotted the boat off the coast of Aceh province on Sunday.

They delivered food and water to the Rohingya who were crammed on board the wooden skiff.

Indonesian authorities initially planned to turn them away, but changed their minds after warnings about the condition of the boat and calls from international rights groups to let the boat dock.

The Rohingya have fled persecution in Myanmar for years sailing to countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Many have been turned away, at times after spending months at sea.

Indonesia is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees and is predominately seen as a transit country for those seeking asylum.

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