Violence, hunger imperil 2 000 off Myanmar

2015-05-19 17:00
An ethnic Rohingya boy sleeps on a cot at a temporary shelter in Langsa, Aceh province, Indonesia. (Binsar Bakkara, AP)

An ethnic Rohingya boy sleeps on a cot at a temporary shelter in Langsa, Aceh province, Indonesia. (Binsar Bakkara, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Yangon - At least 2 000 desperate migrants, including women and children, are at risk of violence and food shortages after more than 40 days trapped on boats off Myanmar, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.

The group have been "stranded on at least five boats near the Myanmar-Bangladesh coasts for more than 40 days", United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Vivian Tan told AFP, adding that unconfirmed reports put the number even higher.

It was unclear if the people-smugglers who had organised the voyage were still on board the boats.

A recent Thai crackdown on people-smuggling has blocked the southwards route through that country to Malaysia, disrupting the traffic.

As a result nearly 3 000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants have arrived off Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia in recent days. Thousands of others are feared trapped at sea after being abandoned by people-smugglers.

Tan said some migrants on the five boats had paid smugglers around $300 each to return to Myanmar's Rakhine state, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims live in abject poverty and suffer discrimination.

Those who have returned to land have said passengers still on the boats are short of food and water, while reports of violence are "causing great concern", Tan added.

Myanmar's government on Monday acknowledged international concerns about waves of boat people, many of them Rohingya fleeing Rakhine, but has urged a joint regional response to the crisis.

Information Minister Ye Htut said Myanmar's navy had begun preparing to search for vessels in the country's waters, but anyone returning would have to prove their nationality.

Myanmar does not recognise the estimated 1.3 million Rohingya as an official minority, instead viewing them as mostly illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Read more on:    myanmar  |  migrants

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.