Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar in September 2017 © Andrew Stanbridge/Amnesty InternationalDOWNLOAD THE PDF OF UA 102/20 HERE
As many as 400 Rohingya refugees are believed to be stranded at sea, with dozens of deaths having already been recorded. South and southeast Asian governments are using COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions to block people fleeing violence in their home state from landing safely and seeking asylum. The Indonesian government, as co-chair of the 2016 Bali Process*, has a responsibility to manage a regional response to this crisis and to co-ordinate search and rescue operations to locate and assist boats in distress, in line with regional declarations and international law.
The Rohingya fled their homes in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State after the military unleashed a brutal campaign of violence against them. Governments from across the region have been invoking COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions to deny them permission to disembark.