Malaysia and Thailand leave migrant boats adrift

EPA/ZIKRI MAULANA

A Rohingya child lies among the used clocthes donated by the local people at Lhok Sukon stadium, North Aceh, Indonesia, 12 May 2015. Despite the risks, the Rohingya continue to leave Myanmar in large numbers, fleeing anti-Muslim violence and discrimination in the predominantly Buddhist country. The UN's refugee body said that between January and March this year, almost 25,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis boarded smugglers' boats; double the number from the same period last year. More than 8,000 migrants were adrift off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, an IOM official said on 12 May 2015, posing a potential humanitarian crisis for the region's governments.

Thailand has long had a policy of pushing back boats containing asylum-seekers, including potential survivors of human trafficking.


 

Thousands of Rohingya asylum seekers attempting to reach Malaysia have ended up in the hands of traffickers.

As Europe focuses on the migrants in the Mediterranean, another humanitarian crisis is playing out on a stretch of water between the Andaman Sea and the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladeshi migrants have been deserted by smugglers and left adrift for days without food or water.

The deci...


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