Malaysia’s government is risking lives by pushing back overloaded boats of Rohingya refugees, Human Rights Watch said today. The government can appropriately respond to the Covid-19 pandemic without blocking life-saving rescues of seaborne asylum seekers.
Malaysia has recently pushed back to sea at least two boats filled with Rohingya refugees. On April 16, 2020, the Malaysian navy intercepted a boat with approximately 200 Rohingya refugees off the coast of Malaysia and prevented the boat from entering Malaysian waters. The fate of that boat is unknown. The previous day, Bangladesh coast guard officials intercepted another boatload of refugees that, survivors said, had been turned away from Malaysian waters almost two months earlier. A total of 382 starving Rohingya refugees were taken off the boat and survivors reported that at least 30 people on board had died before the rescue.
“Malaysia’s claims to support the rights of the Rohingya mean shockingly little when they push desperate refugees back to sea,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “The Covid-19 pandemic does not create a justification for risking the lives of refugees on overcrowded boats.”
The Malaysian military sought to justify its actions by claiming that those on the boat would bring Covid-19 into the country, and that it had provided food to those on the boat turned away on April 16. In response to the public health crisis, Malaysia has issued a movement control order that prohibits foreigners from entering the country, among other prohibitions.
Sep 14, 2020Staff Reporter Abul kalam of Camp 16 told to our correspondence that Rohingya Community Members actually want to go back to Myanmar, not to a island which is in the middle of bay of Bengal. It is really very dangerous during monsoon season. Recently, some leaders from different camps went to see the location whether […]
Sep 01, 2020
Aug 21, 2020