Deadly journeys done Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea threaten 'tragic and fatal consequences'
Last twelvemonth was the deadliest connected grounds for Rohingya refugees journeying done the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, the UN exile bureau (UNHCR) said successful a new report on Thursday, highlighting that immoderate two-thirds of those attempting the perilous voyages were women and children – risking adjacent further maltreatment by smugglers.
“Left Adrift astatine Sea: Dangerous Journeys of Refugees Across the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea” describes however implicit the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, prompting galore States successful Southeast Asia to tighten their borders.
This resulted successful the highest numbers of refugees stranded astatine oversea since the region’s “boat crisis” successful 2015.
Deadly journeys not a caller phenomenon
Over the past decade, thousands of Rohingya refugees person fled Rakhine State successful Myanmar by oversea to settee successful exile camps successful Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
According to the report, these unsafe journeys began “in Myanmar, wherever the Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship and denied basal rights”.
For the Rohingya who recovered refuge successful neighbouring countries, “restrictions connected movement, livelihoods and acquisition are compelling factors to question a aboriginal elsewhere successful the region”.
The motivations are assorted and often overlapping, it states, including aspirations to reunite with family.
Ever much perilous
Risks person “increased markedly” for those attempting the journey, according to the report, which reveals that of the 2,413 radical known to person travelled successful 2020, 218 died oregon went missing astatine sea.
This means that journeys were 8 times deadlier past twelvemonth than those successful 2019.
Earlier on, it was mostly men travelling, but present the bulk of passengers are women and children.
Since 2020, the study showed that galore refugees person been “marooned for months” connected “unseaworthy boats, falling prey to abuses by smugglers, becoming gravely sick done insufficient nutrient and water, and enduring the harsh conditions astatine sea, including some searing vigor arsenic good arsenic treacherous waves and storms”.
These risks person been “prolonged connected the occasions wherever States person ‘pushed back’ boats to forestall disembarkation”.
States called connected to act
UNHCR urged each States successful the portion to hunt for refugees successful distress astatine oversea and rescue them to places of safety.
This indispensable see moving towards a determination mechanics for predictable and equitable disembarkation; providing entree to asylum procedures for those who disembark; implementing dignified reception arrangements; and providing extortion and assistance to refugees who disembark.
Finally, the basal causes of exile maritime movements indispensable beryllium addressed and entree to harmless ineligible pathways expanded.
UNHCR Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Indrika Ratwatte warned that “collective nonaccomplishment to enactment volition person tragic and fatal consequences”.
“We tin and indispensable bash better”, she stressed.