Bangladesh is beneath “no obligation” to shelter 81 Rohingya Muslim refugees adrift for nearly two weeks on the Andaman Sea and being assisted by India, mentioned Bangladesh international minister AK Abdul Momen.
India’s coast guard discovered the 81 survivors and eight useless crammed onto a crippled fishing boat and had been making an attempt to rearrange for Bangladesh to take them, officers mentioned on Friday.
But Momen instructed Reuters late on Friday that Bangladesh expects India, the closest nation, or Myanmar, the Rohingyas’ nation of origin, to just accept them.
“They are usually not Bangladesh nationals and actually, they’re Myanmar nationals. They had been discovered 1,700 km (1,100 miles) away from the Bangladesh maritime territory and subsequently, we’ve no obligation to take them,” mentioned Momen, who’s within the United States.
“They had been situated 147 km (91 miles) away from Indian territory, 324 km (201 miles) away from Myanmar,” he mentioned by cellphone, including different international locations and organisations ought to handle the refugees.
Indian international ministry officers didn’t reply to requests for remark.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava mentioned on Thursday that India was “in discussions with the Government of Bangladesh to make sure their secure and safe repatriation.”
New Delhi didn’t signal the 1951 Refugee Convention, which spells out refugee rights and state duties to guard them. Nor does it have a regulation defending refugees, although it presently hosts greater than 200,000, together with some Rohingya.
More than 1 million Rohingya refugees from predominantly Buddhist Myanmar live in teeming camps in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, together with tens of hundreds who fled after Myanmar’s navy carried out a lethal crackdown in 2017.
Traffickers typically lure Rohingya refugees with guarantees of labor in Southeast Asian international locations like Malaysia.
The United Nations refugee company, UNHCR, expressed alarm this week over the lacking boat.
India on Thursday mentioned round 47 of the occupants of the boat are in possession of ID playing cards issued to them by the UNHCR workplace in Bangladesh, stating that they’re displaced Myanmar nationals.
NO “GLOBAL CONTRACT” TO AID REFUGEES
The refugees have been drifting in worldwide waters after leaving southern Bangladesh on February 11 within the hope of reaching Malaysia.
On Saturday, they had been beneath the help and surveillance of India as officers had been holding talks to return them to Bangladesh, mentioned the senior Indian official who will not be authorised to talk to the media.
The boat, which sailed from the large Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, was carrying 56 girls, eight women, 21 males and 5 boys.
Many of the survivors, in response to Indian officers, had been sick and affected by excessive dehydration, having run out of meals and water after the boat’s engine failed 4 days into their journey.
“Has Bangladesh been given the worldwide contract and accountability to take and rehabilitate all of the Rohingya or boat individuals of the world?” Momen mentioned. “No, under no circumstances.”
Momen mentioned the UNHCR also needs to take accountability as many individuals on the boat maintain ID playing cards from the UNHCR workplace in Bangladesh.
“If (the refugees) are UNHCR card holders, why did they permit traffickers to take their card holders to adrift on the excessive sea resulting in demise?”
UNHCR officers weren’t instantly reachable for remark.