A fishing boat carrying more than 700 migrants and which was escorted by Myanmar’s navy forces landed on the country’s western state of Rakhine on Wednesday morning. Authorities said the migrants will be ushered to Taungpyo Letwe village, near the borders of Bangladesh.
A local official said that Bangladesh agreed to provide refuge to 200 migrants who will be transferred soon. But Major Abu Russell Siddiqui cautioned the deal is subject to a condition that the migrants’ citizenship is verified as Bangladeshis.
The United States earlier issued a statement that as soon as the more than 700 migrants, labelled as “Bengalis,” will reach Myanmar, they ought to be treated humanely. Anne Richard, U.S. assistant-secretary of state, after visiting camps of Rohingya refugees in Indonesia commented that whatever happens to the passengers on the boat is Myanmar’s responsibility.
“We are following this very closely because we want to make sure any of the innocent people on the boat get proper treatment and are handled humanely,” Richard said, adding that what the U.S. government wants is for Myanmar to treat the Rohingya as Myanmar’s citizens.
U.S. President Barack Obama recently joined a petition for Myanmar to cease its discrimination towards the Rohingya. Richard said imposing sanctions against Myanmar is among the options should the country choose to pursue its inhumane treatment of the Rohingya.
Migrants’ crisis is not just a rich country’s problem. With its prevalence and rising frequency, even third-world countries are now sought for a refuge. The latest migration problem springs from a desire to escape persecution that afflicts Muslim Rohingya minorities in Myanmar.
Each year, members of Muslim Rohingya minorities abscond from persecution and poverty in Rakhine, where they are not only given access to basic services and jobs, their movements are also being monitored and controlled.
Before the boat carrying more than 700 migrants was intercepted, they were supposed to head towards Malaysia. Myanmar navy threatened the migrants on board the fishing boat that they will be thrown to Bangladesh, before they were escorted to Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Bangladeshi migrants for many years brave the perils of the sea to seek for better condition in Malaysia.