Archive for the ‘Rohingya’ Category

UN Agency Reports That 2020 Was The Deadliest Year For Rohingya Refugees

August 21, 2021

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports the year 2020 was the deadliest ever for Rohingya refugees crossing the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, the preferred sea route for Rohingya trying to reach Southeast Asia from the sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh.
218 of the 2,413 people who traveled in 2020 died or went missing at sea, according to a UNHCR report issued on Thursday, Left Adrift at Sea: Dangerous Journeys of Refugees Across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. This made an already dangerous journey eight times more deadly than in 2019.
Southeast Asian countries have become increasingly hesitant to accept Rohingya refugees, citing the COVID-19 outbreak as a reason not to accept them.
In its report, the agency noted that countries had “pushed back” vessels, leaving refugees stranded for months on unseaworthy boats which lacked food and water.
Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in June 2020 that the economic downturn caused by the pandemic prevented Malaysia from taking Rohingya in. There are more than 100,000 Rohingya in Malaysia, and they are left to survive on their own with the support of civil society and community groups. Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees. They cannot work and have limited access to health care and education.
UNHCR called on all states in the region to look for and rescue refugees in distress at sea and allow them to disembark to safety.
It also called on countries in the region to provide access to asylum procedures for those who disembark and to address the root causes of refugee maritime movements, such as expanding access to safe legal pathways.
Earlier this week, a boat carrying about 40 Rohingya refugees capsized in bad weather in the Bay of Bengal after trying to escape Bhasan Char. About 14 people were rescued and taken back to the island, but more than two dozen others are believed to have drowned.
After drifting for more than 100 days at sea, a boat carrying 81 people washed ashore on an uninhabited island off the Indonesian island of Sumatra in June 2021. Refugee workers report that the group, many of whom are women and children, had originally come from Bangladesh camps to the waters off India’s coast. When their boat broke down, the Indian coastguard fixed it and provided supplies, but refused to let them land.

Rohingya Refugees From Myanmar and Other Countries Stuck On Isolated Island

May 29, 2021

Dilara dreamed of a new life in Malaysia as she set off from the coast of Bangladesh.

She and hundreds of others were rescued after spending days floating at sea after being turned away at the border.

However, they were not returned to the mainland or their families.

The group was abandoned on an island made of silt in the middle of the Bay of Bengal by their rescuers, with no hope of escaping.

“I don’t know how long I will stay here. I have no way out,” the unmarried young woman, who fears leaving her room in the dark, told the press.

“I will grow old and die here alone.”

As part of a planned 100,000 Rohingya refugee settlement, Dilara arrived on Bhasan Char, a piece of land measuring 40 square kilometers (15 square miles) in size which had previously served as a stop-off point for fishermen.

The Bangladeshi authorities have hailed it as a solution to the overcrowded refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, which are home to almost a million Rohingya refugees who arrived recently. Myanmar’s army launched a military offensive in 2017, which the UN later called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”. Earlier violence had driven some people away.

Authorities say, however, that the Rohingya refugee camps have become crime hotspots.

Despite this, the press spoke by phone to refugees on the small island of mud. They describe a place where there is no work, few facilities and little hope of a better future.

It is said that those who attempt to flee are caught and beaten, and refugees are turning on one another as frustration rises. Moreover, they fear that one big storm could wash them away as they are just 2m (6ft) above sea level.

The press was granted access to the island last year, but it is hard to say what is going on. There has been no free access for journalists, aid agencies, or human rights groups to Bhasan Char, which is 60km (37.5 miles) from the mainland.

To protect their identities, the names of a few residents have been changed.

When Halima and her family arrived in December, heavily pregnant, Halima wondered how they would survive.

“It was such a desolate place. Apart from us, nobody lived here.”

The next day, she went into labor without being able to find a doctor or nurse.

“I had experienced childbirth before, but this time it was the worst. I can’t tell you how painful it was.”

Her husband, Enayet, rushed to find a Rohingya woman living in the same block who was trained as a midwife.

Halima says, “God helped me.”. Fathima was her daughter.

Rohingya face a new threat on a remote island
‘The bodies were thrown from the boat in the night’
The Rohingya crisis: What you need to know
Enayet had promised them a new life on the island without telling his family.

“They [Bangladeshi officials] promised us a plot of land for each family, cows, buffaloes, and loans for businesses,” he told the press.

Halima says that despite having access to running water, bunk beds, a gas stove, and a shared toilet in her accommodation, the reality has been quite different.

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