Hundreds more Rohingya refugees remain stuck at sea, rights groups have warned, just one day after it emerged that dozens of people died onboard a boat that was refused entry to Malaysia and left adrift for two months.
On Friday, Malaysia’s air force confirmed it had denied entry to a second boat carrying about 200 Rohingya people, claiming it had done so to prevent further spread of the coronavirus within the country, which remains under lockdown.
Researchers believe other boats are likely to also be stuck at sea, packed with refugees who are attempting to escape desperate and squalid conditions in the city of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
Refugee camps on the border of Bangladesh grew to be some of the biggest in the world following a brutal military crackdown in 2017 that forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar.
Amnesty International said it had received information about as many as five boats spotted off the coasts of Malaysia and southern Thailand in recent days, believed to be carrying hundreds of people.
It is feared that the refugees could remain trapped at sea and unable to disembark as countries cite the spread of Covid-19 as a justification for turning boats back.
The developments are reminiscent of a 2015 crisis when many Rohingya died at sea after south-east Asian nations refused entry, prompting the UN to warn that people were being left stranded on “floating coffins”.
On Thursday, Bangladesh rescued almost 400 people in the Bay of Bengal, after they spent two months adrift. They had attempted to sail to safety in Malaysia, survivors reported, but were refused entry. Dozens of those onboard had died.
Jul 24, 2021Police and civil authorities in the Indian capital have demolished a makeshift mosque in a Rohingya camp, say the refugees, weeks after a massive fire had engulfed the settlement. The mosque, made up of tarpaulin sheets and bamboo sticks, was bulldozed at about 7am local time (01:30 GMT) on Thursday, at the camp located in […]