Two Dozen Rohingya Die on Drifting Boat, 382 Rescued: Report
The boat could not reach Malaysia due to coronavirus lockdown.
The Quint DAILY
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Around two dozen Rohingya died on a boat that could not reach Malaysia after drifting for weeks, according to a report by Reuters. Bangladesh coastguard officials also said that 382 survivors have been rescued.
As coronavirus lockdowns in Malaysia and Thailand make it increasingly difficult for the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group from Myanmar, to seek refuge, a human rights organisation believes that more boats carrying them are adrift at sea.
The Bangladesh coastguard added that the incident occurred on Wednesday, 15 April. “All the Rohingya were at sea for almost two months and they did not have anything to eat”, an official told Reuters, adding that those rescued will be sent to Myanmar.
Video footage that has been released shows the starving Rohingya, mostly women and children, being helped by coastguard officials. One of them told a reporter that Malaysia has denied them entry thrice.
The Rohingya community is not considered citizens of the Buddhist-majority Myanmar and they complain of persecution. Though Myanmar denies persecuting Rohingya it also says they are not an indigenous ethnic group, rather they have migrated from South Asia.
In a military crackdown in 2017, which the army claimed was a retaliation to the attack by Rohingya insurgents, millions from the community were thrown away from Myanmar and they sought refuge in Southern Bangladesh.
By boarding boats, the community has been trying to enter Southeast Asia and build homes for a long time. Many human rights organisations feel that the coronavirus lockdown can lead to an acute crisis, similar to the one witnessed in 2015, when smugglers abandoned people on the sea after a crackdown by Thailand.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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Topics: Boat Rohingya coronavirus lockdown
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