Asia

Indonesia lets migrants ashore after week on stranded boat

FILE - In this June 17, 2016 file photo, Indonesian officials load food supplies onto a boat carrying Tamil migrants which have been stranded on the beach in Lhoknga, Aceh province, Indonesia. Indonesia has allowed a group of Tamil migrants from Sri Lanka to come ashore in Aceh province after confining them to their stranded boat for a week.  The migrants are now being sheltered in tents after being allowed off their boat Saturday, June 18, 2016.   (AP Photo/Heri Juanda, File)

FILE - In this June 17, 2016 file photo, Indonesian officials load food supplies onto a boat carrying Tamil migrants which have been stranded on the beach in Lhoknga, Aceh province, Indonesia. Indonesia has allowed a group of Tamil migrants from Sri Lanka to come ashore in Aceh province after confining them to their stranded boat for a week. The migrants are now being sheltered in tents after being allowed off their boat Saturday, June 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Heri Juanda, File)  (The Associated Press)

Indonesia has allowed a group of Tamil migrants from Sri Lanka to come ashore in Aceh province after confining them to their stranded boat for a week.

Rights groups have criticized Indonesia's treatment of the 44 men, women and children and the Aceh provincial government's plan to tow them out to sea.

The migrants are now being sheltered in tents after being allowed off their boat Saturday.

But Ahmad Samadan, chief of the local immigration office, said authorities still plan to tow the migrants into international waters once further repairs to the vessel are completed.

The group was trying to reach the Australian territory of Christmas Island when their boat's engine malfunctioned off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island.