Malaysia and Thailand should urgently rescue Rohingya refugees stranded at sea and provide them with assistance and access to asylum, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 8, 2020, Malaysian authorities detained 269 Rohingya refugees who arrived on a damaged boat off Malaysia’s coast at Langkawi. A second boat with an estimated 300 Rohingya remains at sea near Thailand’s Koh Adang island, according to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
Both boats left from Bangladesh in February, meaning that the hundreds of ethnic Rohingya on board have been at sea for four months without access to adequate food and water. On a previous boat of Rohingya bound for Malaysia that was rescued by the Bangladesh coast guard, as many as 100 may have died on board as a result of the deplorable conditions.
“Southeast Asian governments are callously passing the buck on protecting Rohingya refugees desperate for sanctuary and a future after Myanmar’s military drove them from their homes with mass atrocities,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “While Myanmar remains ultimately responsible for the Rohingya refugees’ plight, Malaysia and Thailand should stop wearing blinders about the immediate risks and suffering that they face at sea.”
Malaysian officials who intercepted the boat carrying Rohingya on June 8 intended to return it to international waters, but a damaged engine prevented the pushback. Approximately 50 refugees jumped off the boat and swam to shore, where they were detained, while the boat with the remaining passengers was towed to Langkawi. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency arrested them on arrival and has detained them at the Nation Building Camp center.
Jul 12, 2020Staff Reporter The suffering of hundreds of thousands Rohingyas living in the settlement camps in Cox’s Bazar continues due to non-stop rainfall for more than five days, posing challenges for the administration to deal with the situation. Concerned government officials in Cox’s Bazar also told Mercy Correspondence that the government was responding to the situation […]