News / Asia

Burma Boat Rescue Called Off

Location

— Authorities in Burma Monday reported no signs of additional survivors after a boat in the Bay of Bengal, loaded with Muslim Rohingya, capsized and sank Sunday. It is among the latest incidents generating increased concern about the plight of the stateless minority.

A Muslim community leader in Sittwe said the ill-fated journey from Burma to Bangladesh began Saturday evening with about 80 people, including women and children, on board a vessel overloaded with smuggled goods.

Aung Win said when the boat sank in the Bay of Bengal nearly everyone drowned. Five bodies were recovered by relatives and buried on a nearby beach. “Eight to 10 people survived but those people are hiding in nearby villages because they are afraid of police arrest so nobody can confirm the survivor number,” said Win.

While many ethnic Rohingya have lived in Burma for decades, the government does not recognize them as citizens.

Rights groups said the community has long faced discrimination, and repeatedly been victims of police brutality. Last year, violence against the community escalated, driving many from their homes and into temporary camps. Periodic violence continues.

A Burmese security officer and a U.N. official in the country, both speaking on condition they not be named, said several more Rohingya died during violent clashes in recent days in the Pauktaw area, about two hours north of Sittwe by boat.

A Rohingya man was found dead near a Buddhist pagoda where a group had gone to collect firewood from the Sin Tet Maw camp for internally displaced persons. The Rohingya blamed the killing on “Rakhine thugs.”

In a subsequent confrontation near the camp with angry Rohingya who went to retrieve the body, sources say, police opened fire. One person was killed and at least two more were wounded.

There are also reports that the body of another Rohingya man was found Sunday morning and that a Rakhine woman was killed in what appears to be a retaliatory attack.  

A veteran political analyst on Burma, Richard Horsey, said there is a perception that Burma's police have become more assertive in confronting the Rohingya.

“This new readiness to use force, of course, comes with huge risks because for a police force that is not well equipped and trained to deal with riot situations the use of force can also go wrong,” Horsey said.

Since last year's escalation of violence in Rakhine state, many Rohingya have been leaving, primarily for Thailand and Malaysia, believing their lives will improve in those countries.

The U.N. High Commission for Refugees said as many as 1,500 people have fled in the last week. But the U.N. and other international organizations saidthey have not been able to gather more specific, reliable information.

Non-governmental groups express concern that once on other shores the undocumented refugees face exploitation by human traffickers.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid