Rohingya Muslims: Drawn to Despair

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The continued torment that the Rohingya Muslims are facing in Myanmar has forced many of them to escape the country and try to seek asylum in nearby countries. Thousands of the victims have taken the sea route to move to safety. But even here they have found no takers and no country in the region willing to give them asylum. The United Nations has accused countries in South East Asia of “incomprehensible and inhumane” treatment of around 6,000 migrants who are stranded at sea.

The migrants are mostly Rohingya Muslims, who face persecution in their native Myanmar and are not recognized as citizens of the country.Thousands board smugglers’ boats in search of a better life but many are now stranded at sea in desperate conditions, with countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia turning most of them away. Another vessel with Rohingya migrants on board has been towed out of Thai waters and its fate is yet unknown.Human Rights Watch has warned of deadly “human ping-pong” in the Andaman sea, where thousands more are believed to be adrift, struggling to land. Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have facing persecution in their own countries where they are not recognized as citizens of the country. Many of these victims often try to flee to safety and, often choosing the sea route in the non Monsoon season. The smugglers would often take them to Thailand, but this year it has become difficult for them to be landed in Thailand since the Govt has been cracking hard on such immigrants. This has resulted in them being stranded in the sea. The smugglers who take these victims treat them inhumanly. They are given little food and beaten when someone asks for more food.

The official policy of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia is to push back these who try to arrive onshore. The UN has said it was ‘’appalled’’ by this policy. “The focus should be on saving lives, not further endangering them,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. It is unclear how many boats carrying these victims are out there in the sea, but activists say that thousands of Rohingya refugees are in the sea trying to flee to safety.  

Rohingyas are a distinct ethnic group who are Muslims by faith, living mainly in Myanmar. Some of them are also living in Bangladesh. They don’t enjoy citizenship in their country, have restricted rights, are treated badly and persecuted as well. Their plight is one of the biggest human crisis the world has witnessed in the last few years, but unfortunately has not drawn much criticism and condemnation either form the Western powers, neighbouring Asian countries and the Muslim majority countries. Rohingya Muslims are the victims of persecution of the State of Myanmar but also of the indifference of the rest of the world.

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