'Bangladesh should take in stranded Rohingya boats'

World
Sat, 25 Apr 2020 22:58 GMT
Refugees need food, water and healthcare, says Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Saturday urged Bangladeshi authorities to allow Rohingya refugees stranded in the Bay of Bengal for weeks to come ashore. “The Bangladesh government should immed...
'Bangladesh should take in stranded Rohingya boats'

Refugees need food, water and healthcare, says Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Saturday urged Bangladeshi authorities to allow Rohingya refugees stranded in the Bay of Bengal for weeks to come ashore.

“The Bangladesh government should immediately allow hundreds of Rohingya refugees stranded in two trawlers in the Bay of Bengal to come ashore and receive necessary food, water and healthcare,” the rights watchdog said in a statement.

On Thursday, Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said they could not allow any more Rohingya to seek refuge in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have no room to shelter any foreign people or refugees,” he said.

The rights watchdog asked Bangladesh to show the hospitality it had shown earlier.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been called the ‘Mother of Humanity’ for offering protection to Rohingya fleeing Myanmar, but now her government is turning its back on these refugees,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW.

Addressing other countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand, he added: “Concerned governments should call on Bangladesh to bring these two Rohingya boatloads ashore and provide generous financial support for these and other refugees living in overcrowded camps [in Bangladesh’s southern district of Cox’s Bazar].”

In the face of deadly clashes in Myanmar and the uncertainty of peaceful repatriation, the Rohingya are leaving crammed camps in Bangladesh to flee to countries like Malaysia through risky sea routes.

On April 15, Bangladesh coast guard units rescued a boat carrying 390 Rohingya who were reportedly turned back from Malyasia nearly two months ago. As many as 100 perished at sea.

 

Persecuted people

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report titled Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.

As many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes burned down while 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

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