Rohingya Refugee Boat Sinks Off Myanmar Coast, Passengers Feared Missing or Dead

At least 17 Rohingya refugees were killed and several more went missing after the boat which carried them sank off the coast of Myanmar while on their way to Malaysia over the weekend.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), initial reports indicate that the boat left Sittwe, Myanmar on Friday. The boat then capsized near the shore of Pathein on Saturday due to poor weather in the waters off of the Ayeyarwady Region.

An estimated 35 people were rescued alive, including the boat owner, but more than 50 people are still missing.

“The latest tragedy shows once again the sense of desperation being felt by Rohingya in Myanmar and in the region,’’ said Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR’s Director for Asia and the Pacific.

Rohingya refugees have been fleeing in significant numbers to neighboring countries since the military staged a coup in Myanmar in 2019.

The UNHCR confirmed that between January and May 2022, 630 Rohingya individuals attempted to cross the Bay of Bengal by sea to escape military-led brutality, rape, and killings, as well as extensive property devastation and seizure.

Ratwatte also expressed, “The root causes of these deadly journeys need to be addressed. Additionally, all countries in the region must come together to ensure the rescue and disembarkation of all those in distress at sea.”

The UNHCR ascertained that the organization and its partners continue to engage extensively with refugee and host communities to raise awareness about the dangers of the dangerous trips.

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