More Rohingya misery in South Asian waters

Thailand sends migrant boat away from its waters while Indonesia rescues more than 700 people from sinking vessel

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Refugee limbo continues in South Asia after another boat carrying around 400 migrants has been towed by the Thai navy out of its waters and directed to Indonesia.

But the Indonesian navy has not allowed the boat to enter its waters, although it recently rescued more than 700 hundred people from a sinking vessel.

Indonesian officials said migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, mostly long-persecuted Rohingya Muslims, landed in Aceh on Friday. The migrants were found by fishermen in the middle of the sea when their vessel was about the sink and placed in temporary shelters.

Not allowed to land in Thailand and stranded on boats, they beg for food and water, drinking their own urine from bottles, the BBC reported.

Thousands of more are believed to be stuck at sea, including women and children. Despite calls from the UN, the US and various international organisations, South Asian countries refuse to accept these desperate people fleeing from persecution in Myanmar.

The UN has warned once again of a "massive humanitarian disaster" is in the making, and the United States - which is under pressure from rights and aid agencies over the crisis - has called on the South Asian governments to work together to save migrants.

Representatives from Washington are expected to attend a regional meeting on the issue, to be held in Thailand at the end of this month, and has also appealed to Myanmar to improve conditions for the Rohingya people.

The Rohingya Muslims, who are not recognised as citizens in Myanmar and persecuted, are prevented from returning to their homeland and are not wanted by the countries they try to escape to.

The UN has called them one of the world's most persecuted people.


TRTWorld and agencies