KUALA LUMPUR, 17 April 2020 — Several rights groups have called upon the government of Malaysia to end pushbacks of Rohingya boat people, deploy search and rescue missions for and ensure safe disembarkation of the boats, after Bangladesh rescued 400 Rohingya drifting at sea for nearly two months.
Belongings of Rohingya refugees lay on the shore as their carrier boat remains anchored nearby in Teknaf on 16 April 2020. - Thirty-two Rohingya died in a boat crammed with hundreds of "starving" men, women and children after 58 days in the Bay of Bengal after being denied entry by Malaysia and Thailand, officials said April 16. (Photo by Suzauddin RUBEL / AFP)
Concerning gravely over reports that Malaysian maritime authorities pushed back Rohingya refugees arriving by boat, The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) calls upon the governments of Malaysia and Thailand to Cease 'pushbacks', interception and other measures designed to obstruct access to territory; to deploy immediate lifesaving search and rescue missions and provide humanitarian assistance and medical treatment where required; and ensure safe and transparent process for asylum seekers and refugees within their territories and access to UNHCR.
Bangkok-based Fortify Right also said, "The Government of Malaysia should urgently coordinate regional governments to deploy search and rescue missions for boats of Rohingya refugees adrift at sea and ensure their safe disembarkation, said Fortify Rights today."
Bangladeshi Cost Guard on 16th April rescued 396 Rohingya boatpeople from a boat which had been adrift for over two months at sea as the attempts to land in Malaysia failed, while up to 60 others died during their way to and fro.
The survivors are mostly women and children, had set sail in a fishing trawler from the camps in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh in mid-February.
Fortify Right said that Royal Malaysian Air Force and Royal Malaysian Navy located another boat of more than 200 Rohingya and forced it back to sea around 10:30 a.m. on 16th April citing statement of RMAF.
On April 5, another boat landed in Langkawi with 202 Rohingya, comprising 152 men, 45 women, four boys and a girl, who were detained and taken to the Kedah and Perlis MMEA lock-up in Bukit Malut.
Malaysia is home to nearly 100,000 Rohingya refugees who survived genocide in Myanmar.