A total of 716 Bangladeshi refugees said to have arrived on the shores of Malaysia by boat are lodged in Malaysian camps, an official said yesterday.
The Bangladeshi foreign ministry has sent a list of its nationals to the Malaysian authorities for final identification, the official told bdnews24.
The Bangladesh mission in Kuala Lumpur prepared the list after getting consular access and preliminary verification.
There has been a surge in the number of refugees from Myanmar arriving in Malaysia and Indonesia following a crackdown on trafficking by Thailand, usually the first destination in the region’s people-smuggling network.
“Those who are identified as Bangladeshi nationals, we will bring them back to our country,” a senior official at the foreign ministry said, declining to be named. “But we will verify them first.”
The seaborne exodus mushroomed last month into a regional crisis for which Myanmar insists it is not to blame. Seventeen countries were represented at a meeting in Bangkok last week after around 4,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi “boat people” landed on the shores of Thailand, Malaysia and
Indonesia through May.
Scott Busby, the US Deputy Assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labour, yesterday welcomed an agreement between affected countries to address “root causes” of the exodus, but said Myanmar should make a start by granting Rohingyas
“Many people have been there for a very long period of time, they need access to citizenship,” he told reporters in Cambodia.
Hollywood actor Matt Dillon was in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, on Monday. He visited a camp for displaced Rohingya and a fishing village from which many migrants had left on smugglers’ boats.
“I saw a grim situation, a lot of barbed wire ... The residential area was ghettoised,” Dillon told reporters in Bangkok. “I felt that this is a very vulnerable group. These people are the most desperate of the