Rohingya Survive Violence-and a Storm-Before Coming Ashore in Malaysia


Kuala Lumpur: A boat carrying dozens of Rohingyas from Myanmar arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday and the members of the stateless Muslim minority will be allowed to enter the country, authorities said.

The vessel carrying 56 people was intercepted by Malaysian maritime authorities near the northwestern island of Langkawi, said navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin. The group belongs to the ethnic Rohingya community, which has been at the receiving end of what the United Nations calls a "systematic ethnic cleansing" in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Canada needs to deepen its commitment to human rights on the ground, by protecting women and girls, Rae says. It had since been escorted to the peninsula and its occupants handed over to immigration authorities for processing.

The report by former Ontario premier and Toronto MP Bob Rae, also recommended sanctions and prosecution against those in Myanmar who are behind the crisis that has forced Rohingya to flee for their lives to Bangladesh.

But there have been concerns desperate migrants might start taking to the high seas again after mainly Buddhist Myanmar launched a new crackdown a year ago that forced about 700,000 members of the stateless Muslim minority to flee to Bangladesh.

After the council proposed a visit in February, Myanmar's government said it was "not the right time", but it has now given the green light.

"It [the boat] was sent to Malaysia after it was repaired and its crew was supplied with food and fuel", a Thai official told BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service, on condition of anonymity.

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"This is not a problem that will go away on its own", Smith said. The Advisory Board for the Committee for Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State was set up by Myanmar previous year to advise on ways of adopting the findings of an earlier commission headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"They had no connections with human trafficking syndicates", he said.

But further sanctions would only hurt Myanmar's population, he says.

Many of those refugees are now residing in sprawling and overcrowded Bangladeshi camps that threaten to be inundated with heavy rains - potentially overwhelming sanitation facilities and leading to outbreaks of water-borne diseases - during the upcoming monsoon season, which begins in May.

With relief agencies in Bangladesh struggling to assist more than a million vulnerable Rohingya refugees crowded into makeshift camps along the country's south-east coast, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday appealed for global support to help the cash strapped health sector scale up its response.

Reported byBenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.