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Rescue calls for stranded boat holding 200 Rohingya refugees


JAKARTA: Southeast Asian politicians on Tuesday called for the rescue of a boat carrying up to 200 people Rohingya Refugees including women and children were stranded at sea for several weeks.
Thousands of the largely Muslim Rohingya, heavily persecuted in Myanmar, risk their lives each year on long, expensive voyages – often in dingy boats – trying to reach Malaysia or Indonesia.
The boat carrying refugees has been reported in waters near Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea and the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
“We urgently call on ASEAN member states and other countries in the region… to launch search and rescue operations,” said former Indonesian MP Eva Sundari, a member of the Parliamentary lobby group. ASEAN Fellow for Human Rights (APHR), said in a statement. statement.
“It’s a shame that a boat full of men, women and children in grave danger should be allowed to drift.”
Charles Santiago, a former Malaysian MP and chair of the APHR, also said in the same statement that delays in rescuing stranded refugees may have “caused untold suffering and loss. narrate”.
The current position of the ship is unknown and it is unclear when or exactly where it departed.
But at least one relative of a passenger hoping to reach Malaysia told AFP he was taken to a boat in deep water by a small fishing boat from Bangladesh.
The vast refugee camps in Bangladesh are home to about one million Rohingya, many of whom fled neighboring Myanmar after a 2017 military crackdown that resulted in rapes, arson and killings. People.
But the poor conditions of the overcrowded camps in Bangladesh have forced many to flee once again.
Rohingya activists and relatives of some of those on board told AFP it had been at sea for at least two weeks.
The United Nation The refugee agency (UNHCR) said last week that the boat had been in waters since late November and that it had received reports of at least a dozen deaths on board.
The rest had no food or water, it said.
Noor Habiresident of a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar of Bangladesh, said his 23-year-old daughter Munuwara Begum was on a boat that ran aground and was talking to his sister on the walkie-talkie.
“We are in danger. Please save us,” her daughter Begum said, according to an audio clip of the call.
“There was no food or water with us and no one to save us from this drowning boat.”
The Indonesian Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On December 8, more than 150 Rohingya were rescued near the coast of Thailand from a flooded boat en route to Indonesia from a refugee camp in Bangladesh, according to Myanmar authorities.

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