Human Rights Watch has urged Bangladesh to “immediately allow” two boats with Rohingya refugees “to come ashore and receive necessary food, water and health care.”
The human rights group said in a statement Saturday there are hundreds of refugees, who may not have had adequate food and water for weeks, stranded on the vessels in the Bay of Bengal.
Abdul Momen, the Bangladeshi foreign minister, said Thursday that he would not allow any more Rohingyas into the country because “Bangladesh is always asked to take care of the responsibility of other countries.”
He added that many Bangladeshis are returning home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so “we have no room to shelter any foreign people or refugees.”
Nearly one million Rohingya, who fled atrocities in Myanmar, are living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh has shouldered a heavy burden as the result of the Myanmar military’s atrocity crimes, but this is no excuse to push boatloads of refugees out to sea to die,” said Brad Adams, HRW Asia director.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called herself the “Mother of Humanity” for offering protection to Rohingya fleeing Myanmar, but now her government is turning its back on these refugees,” Adams said.
“Concerned governments should call on Bangladesh to bring these two Rohingya boatloads ashore and provide generous financial support for these and other refugees living in overcrowded camps,” Adams added.