180 Rohingya Muslims have gone missing at sea on a boat trying to escape the dire conditions of refugee camps in Bangladesh. This is perhaps the worst tragedy in years for the Rohingya refugees.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Monday that there was no trace of the Rohingya Muslims who started their journey from Bangladesh in a boat in late November. According to the agency, they have gone missing at sea and there is a strong possibility that all 180 people aboard the boat may have died.
The UNHCR said the boat was unfit for travel and there were reports of the boat malfunctioning in early December. Later contact with him was also broken.
More than 150 Rohingya were stranded on a boat in the sea near Thailand
The agency said that this incident of death of Rohingya refugees in the year 2022 is the biggest among the most horrific incidents that have happened to them in recent years. UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said that around 200 Rohingyas have been killed or have gone missing this year. “We hope that the 180 missing Rohingya are safe, but the chances are very slim,” he said.
life-threatening sea voyage
According to UNHCR estimates, around 900 Rohingya went missing or died in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal in 2013, and the number was more than 700 in 2014.
In August 2017, more than one million people fled to Bangladesh after Myanmar’s military crackdown against the Rohingya people. There these Rohingya people have to live in overcrowded camps. Many Rohingya try to reach other countries on this type of boat journey for better life and bright future.
“The current year is the worst since the killings and disappearances in 2013 and 2014,” Baloch said. He said that efforts to get people out of the camps have once again reached the pre-Covid-19 situation.
“Trends show that escape attempts are similar to 2020 when more than 2,400 people tried to cross the dangerous sea and more than 200 people died or went missing,” he said.
Human rights organizations say that the number of Rohingyas trying to leave Bangladesh by boat has increased five times this year compared to last year. Baloch said that it is not yet clear where the boat carrying 180 people went missing and towards which country it was headed.
Said Rahman, 38, who fled Myanmar to Malaysia in 2012, said his wife, two sons aged 17 and 13 and a 12-year-old daughter were missing. They were all aboard this boat. He said, “My family came to Bangladesh in 2017 to save their lives. Rohingyas have been left to die in the sea or on land.”
Rahman said, “But they are all gone now… Now I am ruined.”
Every year many Rohingya make this journey, risking their lives to escape repression and violence in Myanmar and the filth of refugee camps in Bangladesh.