Amnesty International has urged South Asian countries to take measures to rescue a group of Rohingya refugees and at least three Bangladeshi nationals, who are stranded on a boat in the Andaman Sea in or near India’s maritime border.
Saad Hammadi, the South Asia campaigner of the global movement for human rights, came up with the call in a statement issued on Monday while responding to media reports on the matter.
According to media reports, around 100 people are believed to be stranded on the boat, after it departed from Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf in Bangladesh around 10 days ago. The vessel was last reported to be in the sea.
A press release issued by the Amnesty International said that a distress call was issued on the night of February 20, with unconfirmed reports of several deaths and many others in a dire situation due to lack of food and water on board the vessel.
“Instead of passing on responsibility to other states, governments in the region must immediately deploy search and rescue measures to assist those stranded in the vessel, who are in desperate need of food, water and a safe place to disembark free of discrimination," Saad Hammadi said.
The campaigner mentioned that too many lives were already lost at sea as the result of refusal to assist Rohingya people on boats.
"Another repeat of those shameful incidents must be avoided here," he added.
“After years of limbo in Bangladesh and following the recent coup in Myanmar, Rohingya people feel they have no option but to undertake these perilous journeys. With a new ‘sailing season’ already underway, thousands more could yet take to boats. Regional governments must adhere to their international obligations to rescue and disembark people in distress at sea,” Saad Hammadi added.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, some 2,400 Rohingya people took dangerous recourse to boat journeys last year and 200 of them died or went missing during the period.