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Iran Press TV

100 Rohingya stranded at sea for weeks feared dead: UN refugee agency

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 25 December 2022 6:04 PM

The United Nations refugee agency says 100 Rohingya stranded at sea for weeks after leaving Bangladesh last month are now feared dead.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), citing unconfirmed reports, said on Saturday the "unseaworthy" boat probably sank after it went missing. "Relatives have lost contact. Those last in touch presume all are dead," the UNHCR wrote in a post on its Twitter account.

Two Myanmar Rohingya activist groups recently said up to 20 Rohingya were feared dead due to thirst, hunger, or drowning, after a boat carrying at least 100 Rohingya was stranded off India's Andaman Islands for two weeks.

Dozens of Rohingya land in Indonesia

Meanwhile, dozens of hungry and weak Rohingya Muslims landed on the shores of Indonesia's Aceh province after being adrift at sea for weeks.

Local police chief Rolly Yuiza Away said on Sunday 58 men, mostly from the minority group, arrived on Indrapatra beach at Ladong, a fishing village in Aceh Besar district. Villagers who saw them on a rickety wooden boat helped them come to shore before informing the authorities, he added. "They look very weak from hunger and dehydration. Some of them are sick after a long and severe voyage at sea," Away said. The men received food and water from villagers and others as they waited for further instructions from immigration and local officials in Aceh, Away said.

On Friday, the UNHRC called on regional governments to rescue at least 190 Rohingya people adrift between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

Away said it was not immediately clear where the group was travelling from or if they were part of the group of 190 Rohingya refugees that has been adrift in the Andaman Sea.

Each year, many Rohingya risk their lives boarding rickety vessels to escape violence in Myanmar and squalor conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district. Many attempt to reach Malaysia.

Earlier this month, the refugee agency issued an alert over a sharp rise in the number of people attempting to cross the Andaman Sea from Bangladesh and Myanmar. The UN statement said the Southeast Asia waterway is one of the most hazardous in the world and that more than 1,900 people had already made the journey since January this year - six times more than the number of people who tried to cross in 2020.

At least 920,000 Rohingya refugees remain stuck in crowded conditions in refugee camps in Cox's Bazar. This includes about 750,000 Rohingya who were forced to leave their homeland amid the military-led crackdown against their community in 2017. Thousands were killed, raped, tortured, or arrested in the crackdown, perpetrated with "genocidal intent," according to the United Nations, which has described the community as the most persecuted minority in the world.

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