Burma Times Correspondent: May 31, 2015
Many of the rescued migrants on board the second rescued ship are Rohingya Muslims, according to sources.
On Friday, the Burmese navy ship numbered 632 made the discovery of a migrant ship in the coast off the Irrawaddy delta region at around 6am.
Till now, the government has been more tight lipped about the identity of the migrants, referring to them as Bengalis. This could mean both Bangladeshi citizens and Rohingya Muslims, as the government refers to the latter as Bengalis too.
In all migrant ships rescued in South East Asia, there have been both Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants. However the Burmese government insists that most are Bangladeshis trying to pass themselves off as Rohingyas to get international aid. To prove their point, last time the Burmese navy rescued migrants, they claimed all on board were Bangladeshis. The claim backfired as it was discovered that the Rohingya migrants were whisked away by authorities before the UN and media arrived on the scene.
It has also been established that the vast majority of women and children on board are Rohingyas fleeing persecution in Arakan. This ship has 74 women and 45 children, most, very likely all of them being Rohingyas. Bangladeshis who escape their country due to poverty do not normally take their families on board where they are likely to be raped and mercilessly abused by traffickers. Women are also forced to work as sex slaves by traffickers. The situation is different for Rohingyas who face a worse fate if they choose to remain in Arakan.
According to reports, the rescued ship is being taken to Arakan state.