Stateless Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar by boat face a “dire, and in many cases fatal predicament” at sea, and countries in the region should allow them to disembark on humanitarian grounds despite the coronavirus health crisis, the United Nations refugee agency has said.
Indrika Ratwatte, director of the UNHCR Asia-Pacific region, said on Thursday the international body is “increasingly concerned” by reports of hundreds of Rohingya refugees on board fishing boats being refused entry to countries despite the dangerous conditions on the smugglers’ ships.
“We are increasingly concerned by reports of failure to disembark vessels in distress and of the grave immediate risk this poses to the men, women and children on board,” Ratwatte said.
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“Search and rescue, along with prompt disembarkation, are life-saving acts.”
In recent days, it has been reported that a Malaysian surveillance aircraft prevented a boat, carrying about 200 Rohingya refugees, from entering Malaysian waters, forcing the boat back into waters off southern Thailand.
The Malaysian air force said it feared that the group of refugees might bring the coronavirus into the country.
The statement added that the crew of a Malaysian navy vessel “distributed food to the foreigners before escorting their boat out of the country’s waters”.
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 […]
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