Bangladesh. Boat carrying Rohingya refugees sinks, dozens missing
At least a dozen people were missing on Tuesday off the coast of Bangladesh following the sinking of a boat carrying Rohingya refugees bound for Malaysia, the South Asian country’s coast guard said. South. “The boat sank after leaving the coast at 5.30 a.m. due to bad weather in the Bay of Bengal,” coastguard spokesman Lt. Al Amin said.
« We rescued 39 people, including 35 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh camps and four Bangladeshis, » he said, adding that « the boat was heading for Malaysia. » Coastguard Commander Ashiq Ahmed said the vessel likely had more than 50 people on board. “About a dozen people are still missing. The rescue operation is still ongoing,” he added.
The Rohingya diaspora very present in Malaysia
Around 750,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority had fled Burma after a brutal offensive, launched by the army in 2017, and found asylum in neighboring Bangladesh where more than 100,000 refugees victims of previous violence were already residing.
>> READ : Five years after their revolt, the Rohingya people are at an impasse
Last July, the International Court of Justice, the highest legal body of the UN, considered itself competent to judge an accusation of genocide of the Rohingyas formulated by Gambia against Burma. In March, the United States for the first time officially declared that the Rohingya minority had been victims of genocide perpetrated by the Burmese army in 2016 and 2017.
The Rohingya survive crammed into unsanitary camps in Bangladesh and refuse to return to their country until they are granted citizenship rights and security guarantees. This situation prompts hundreds of Rohingyas every year to pay smugglers to try to get to Malaysia, where the largest Rohingya diaspora lives, in unsafe boats, risking their lives.