The lockdowns and economic slowdown, caused by the coronavirus in different countries, have robbed Rohingyas of their livelihood opportunities and pushed them into an abyss of hunger and malnutrition, rights activists have observed.
They said the pandemic has also exposed them to exploitation, hate and xenophobia.
They made the observations at a virtual e-symposium on 'Hunger, Exploitation, Hate Crime and Xenophobia on Land and at Sea' on Thursday, organised by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) in collaboration with the Free Rohingya Coalition.
Among other things, the participants demanded of the international community to ensure Myanmar pay appropriate reparations to the countries that are adversely affected by the refugee flows.
They also demanded littoral states of Andaman Sea and South China Sea to immediately allow the drifting boats to dock on land.
They noted that there is an urgent need that states and donors to recognize the Rohingya community's agency and create opportunities for self-empowerment and entrepreneurship.
Sharifa Shaqira of Rohingya Women Development Network, based in the United States, narrated the plights of Rohingyas drifting at sea.
She observed that in Myanmar, Rohingyas have no future and lead a sub-human life. They are forced to take help of traffickers to escape the atrocious conditions at home.
Ali Johar, a cultural activist and youth leader in India, highlighted the need for access to education for the Rohingya community. He said that in the absence of education, an entire generation of Rohingya will grow up illiterate becoming a burden on the host society.
Sujauddin Karimuddin, a Rohingya Community leader in Australia, said: "Being refugees is not our choice; circumstances compel us to move to other lands".