Boat carrying 56 Rohingya reaches Malaysia
Rohingya in good health but exhausted, Malaysian naval chief says
By Adem Salvarcioglu
The Burma Times – A boat carrying 56 Rohingya refugees reached Malaysian waters Tuesday, the country’s naval chief said.
The Rohingya, who escaped persecution in Myanmar, included 19 women, 20 children, and 17 men.
Adm. Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin told local media outlets that after the boat was intercepted, it was moored to the northern resort island of Langkawi.
He added that the Rohingya were in good health, but hungry and tired due to the long journey.
“They have been provided with necessary first aid,” he said.
Malaysia’s immigration authorities have begun processing their request for official refugee status.
According to earlier reports, 24 days into its voyage the boat broke down in Thai waters due to a storm.
Thailand’s navy and fishermen reached the boat and repaired it. They also fueled the boat and provided the refugees with food, before it set off for Malaysia.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the UN.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in western Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said that the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.