HRW urges India to provide refuge to Rohingya Muslims adrift at Indian Ocean
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Indian government to provide refuge to dozens of Rohingya Muslim asylum seekers who have been adrift in the Andaman Sea for more than two weeks.
Although India’s coast guard has reportedly repaired the vessel carrying the refugees and provided food, medical and technical aid to them, New Delhi has not permitted the boat to enter Indian waters, requesting its return to Bangladesh.
According to Press TV, despite the alleged assistance, eight refugees have died and the 81 survivors are reported to be in bad health condition, suffering from extreme dehydration.
The boat set off from southern Bangladesh almost two weeks ago in the hope of reaching Malaysia.
Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, said India should undertake its commitments as the closest country and provide protection for the survivors.
“The Rohingya have been so persecuted, and for so long, they are desperate to find a place where they can be safe and made to feel welcome. And yet, no country in the world, even those that sympathize with them, are willing,” Ganguly said.
Apart from HRW, the Rohingya refugees living in India are trying to persuade the Indian government to accept the distressed refugees.
Sabber Kyaw Min, Director of Rohingya Human Rights Initiative (RHRI) in India raised concerns about the situation and said, “We are begging Indian authorities to bring our people to land, how can all countries refuse to accept 81 lives stranded in international waters?”
The Indian foreign office has not responded to the calls for the country to accept the refugees.