Rohingya Muslims who paid hundreds of dollars to flee camps in Myanmar by boat are destitute since they were stopped at sea and returned, according to the UN’s refugee agency.
Images of hungry and thirsty Rohingya huddled on boats have stirred memories of a 2015 crisis, when thousands of fleeing Rohingya were stuck at sea as a trafficking trail south collapsed.
Some 120,000 of the stateless Muslim minority have languished in camps in central Rakhine for six years since a bloody bout of intercommunal violence with ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.
The end of the monsoon brings more favourable, if still treacherous, sailing conditions for those desperate to escape the camps that are branded as “open-air prisons” by rights groups and where Rohingya have little access to work, education or healthcare.
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One Rohingya boat this week made it to Aceh on the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra but several others have been picked up in Myanmar waters and those on board sent back to the camps.
Many of the Rohingya had sold or lost all their possessions, including their shelters, to pay the extortionate fees to traffickers, UN refugee agency spokeswoman Aoife McDonnell told AFP.
May 28, 2020Some 15,000 Rohingya refugees are now under coronavirus quarantine in Bangladesh’s vast camps, officials said on Monday (May 25), as the number of confirmed infections rose to 29. Health experts have long warned that the virus could race through the cramped settlements, housing almost a million Muslims who fled violence in Myanmar, and officials had […]
May 10, 2020