Boat accident in Myanmar: At least 17 Rohingya refugees die on the way to Malaysia

Boat accident in Myanmar: At least 17 Rohingya refugees die on the way to Malaysia

At least 17 Rohingya refugees have been found dead after a boat accident in Myanmar. Another 30 were still missing after the accident, eight could be saved, as an employee of an aid organization announced on Friday. The fishing boat with more than 50 people on board capsized on Sunday near Sittwe, the capital of the state of Rakhine in the west of the country. People tried to get to Malaysia in bad weather, it said.

The Rohingya Muslim minority has long been persecuted in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. More than 700,000 have fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since August 2017 to escape what the UN has described as “ethnic cleansing”. Every year, hundreds of Rohingyas risk their lives by sea and seek refuge in Malaysia or Indonesia.

700,000

Rohingya have fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since August 2017.

In 2021, the generals in former Burma staged a coup and ousted the de facto Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi. Since then, the country has descended into chaos and violence. The junta suppresses any resistance from its own population with brutal severity. Widespread human rights abuses by the armed forces have resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe across the country, according to UN agencies. Against this backdrop, the long-oppressed Rohingya minority is once again under threat.

Hundreds of Rohingya were arrested in November last year after attempting to flee Rakhine state. According to the UN refugee agency, more than 3,500 Rohingya tried to flee across the Indian Ocean in 2022. At least 348 people died at sea or were missing. (dpa)

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