Huddled together in rickety boats, the masses are afraid for their lives, as they embark on adventurous trips. These refugees are likely to drown, to die in stormy seas or be eaten by sharks do not – although it is possible. But for these poor people, it is more likely to be beaten, confined spaces (they are stuffed into the holds is designed for 20 years) and diseases that kill them. These stories evoke images of African and Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe.
But migrants Braving sea crossings in Southeast Asia are three times more likely to die than their Europe-bound counterparts.
According to a recent UNHCR report, about 33,600 migrants – mainly Rohingyas and Bangladeshis route from Myanmar to Malaysia – traveled to the region by sea last year, mainly through the Bay of Bengal. Of these, 370 died before reaching the ground, the victim of “starvation, dehydration, disease and abuse,” the report said. This means that approximately 1.1 percent of those going were killed, while in the Med, 3,771 of the approximately 1.4 million people died, at the rate of .375 percent, according to U.N ..
In Southeast Asia, the main culprit is the “abuse by smugglers,” says Keane Shum, director of the regional division of UNHCR monitoring maritime traffic whether that deprivation of food and water, or “beaten or shot on the board.” Most of them have sea route should take about a week, but if the captain hit the landing of concern – as it happened in May last year – then they could be on the boats for several months, says Shum, noting that the trip can also be slowed by the inability of migrants to pay . Fleeing jumped on the wave of Rakhine (also known as Arakan) violence in 2012, which included conflicts between Buddhists and Rohingya Rahkine Muslims. But the Rohingya have long been persecuted and now feel that they have no choice but to leave, says Frankfurt Rohingya activist Nay San Lwin. “Either they stay there and die, or they take a risky trip to Malaysia or Thailand,” he says. In recent decades, the Rohingya rights have been removed, to the point now – since the 2012 murder – where they require a permit only for the transition from one parish to another within the same city, Lwin says, adding that violent raids and rapes It is not uncommon.
Vivian Tan, a spokesman for the UNHCR in Bangkok, agrees that those who are internally displaced camps “do not see a lot of prospects for improvement.” The government helped some displaced persons to return home, but it’s a small number of them, and more than 100,000 remain in camps for displaced persons. “We hope that it will grow,” says Tan, referring to the improvement. In the past year, said Shum, the number of those who take a trip down significantly. “Push factors have not changed,” he says, referring to the human rights issues. But “the means by which they can get changed,” he explains, noting the official investigation brought crackdown on smuggling rings. In addition, the Rohingya community is becoming more and more wary of rumors worst conditions in Malaysia, as well as the Bay of Bengal dangerous intersections.
Many of them may also take the approach “wait and see”, says Tan, about what the new government of Myanmar can do for the Rohingya. Currently, thousands remain trapped, deprived of legal status, and their path to freedom are quite deadly and increasingly blocked.