Bob Rae, special envoy to Myanmar, to release report on Rohingya crisis

Myanmar minister to visit Cox's Bazar Rohingya camps this month

Saying Myanmar was still unsafe for the Rohingyas, Rizvi stated that more worldwide pressure was needed to ensure safe return of the refugees back to their country.

"People can no longer use any river and sea route to go to Malaysia as we have stopped movement of boats on the Bangladesh side of the river Naf [that divides Myanmar and Bangladesh]", Afrozul Haque Tutul, additional superintendent of police in Cox's Bazar, told BenarNews.

"Members of the Rakhine State Advisory Board must not allow themselves to be used as a shield to cover up the military's crimes in Myanmar", said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Southeast Asia director.

"The initial report said they were docking near Koh Lanta this morning to avoid the storm", he was quoted as saying by AFP, referring to the Thai island popular with tourists.

Thai officials sent the boat on its way to Malaysia.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya have been driven out of Rakhine state and are living in crowded refugee camps in Bangladesh since the Burmese military began a "clearance operation" in August.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Rae as special envoy in October, roughly three months after security forces in Myanmar began attacking villages of the Rohingya ethnic minority in what has been labelled by the United Nations as a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said the boat, discovered off the island of Langkawi, was ferrying 36 adults and about 20 children.

"They had no connections with human trafficking syndicates", he said.


He said local villagers donated food to the Rohingya and that they were "happy" with the help.

A boat loaded with almost 400 Myanmar Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees was pushed away repeatedly from Thailand in May 2015 before being rescued by fisherman in Sumatra, Indonesia.

In his interim report presented in December, Rae drew particular attention to those accounts of women who had experienced sexual violence, as well as to the "deplorably overcrowded" refugee camps housing the Rohingya in Bangladesh.

In May 2015, human traffickers abandoned boats at sea carrying thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi survivors of trafficking after Thailand and Malaysia reinforced their borders and refused to allow the disembarkation of survivors, resulting in an untold number of deaths, according to Fortify Rights.

Aye is expected to meet Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, foreign ministry officials told BenarNews.

The aim of her visit is to observe firsthand the humanitarian impact of the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine and the conflict in other states.

The Bangladeshi government plans to move them before the monsoon season as there is a high risk of flooding and landslides.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Pol Gen Chakthip said he believed Thailand serves as a link to third countries for fleeing Rohingya. At least 6,000 more will be relocated this week, he said, adding that the resettlement for 25,000 was scheduled to be completed by mid-April.

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