Human rights groups are raising an alarm, yet again, of the continuing and exacerbated plight of the stateless Rohingya people of Myanmar amid reports that dozens of them, including children, have died and that hundreds are still stranded at sea in futile attempts to find solace and residency.
The BBC-News and Al Jazeera have reported that a group of stranded Rohingya refugees, who were at sea for months, had been plucked from a stranded fishing trawler on the Bay of Bengal, after being denied berth in Malaysia out of fear of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rights groups said dozens of the refugees died at sea and bodies were cast into the waters as the stateless people tried in vain to be accepted by a host nation.
One rescued Rohingya said there were about 500 souls on his boat and that about 50 of them died at sea.
Stateless in Myanmar, where they have repeatedly been persecuted and denied citizenship, and with many surviving as refugees in camps in Bangladesh, the plight of the Rohingya people remains a constituting failure of humanity. Amelioration of their condition eludes international organizations and governments.
Reports have also indicated that there might be hundreds of other Rohingya stranded on the Bay of Bengal.
In search of solace and residency, the Rohingya people have been fleeing both Myanmar and dilapidated refugee camps in Bangladesh. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Bangladesh to immediately allow the refugees ashore and to provide them with necessary food, water and healthcare. The United Nations(UN) Refugee Agency has again called on the international community to assist in ameliorating the Rohingya dire condition since death apparently awaits many of them on the seas.
But Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Ak Abdul Momen, as quoted by the BBC-News, has questioned whether his government was suppose "...to take care of all the stateless people of Planet Earth." He said such a task should be charged to the "USA, the UK and the EU." Bangladesh has already been housing thousands of Rohingya refugees uprooted from Myanmar.
Yet, the comments by the Bangladesh minister should be rejected and condemned since no one expects Bangladesh "to take care of all the stateless people of Planet Earth". As it is, Bangladesh has, and will continue to be exposed to a number of existential events, and they too will need assistance again some day. So a little more empathy toward the Rohingya people by the Bangladeshi people should be more fitting. Plus, it is only the unfortunate Rohingya people who are seeking housing in Bangladesh, not Europeans, Brits or Americans. And Bangladesh has been duly compensated by international organizations and agencies for their efforts in assisting the Rohingya people.
The condition of the Rohingya people is appalling. BBC-News video of those rescued from sea were stark representations of painful young people gutted of hope, deprived of opportunity, denied human classification and left with a generational scar of unwantedness.
I beseech humanity to show empathy to the stateless and dying Rohingya people. May God have mercy upon them all.