By Chris Lewa
On 25 November 2007, a trawler and two ferry boats carrying some 240 Rohingyas being smuggled to Malaysia sank in the Bay of Bengal. About 80 survived; the rest drowned. A week later, another boat sank, allegedly fired at by the Burmese Navy. 150 are believed to have perished. Many Rohingyas are ready to embark on a risky sea journey in order to escape oppression, discrimination and dire poverty. On 3 March 2008, the Sri Lankan Navy rescued 71 passengers, most of them Rohingya, from a boat that had drifted for 22 days in the Indian Ocean with a broken engine. Twenty had already died from starvation and dehydration.1 The Arakan Project2 estimates that, from October 2006 to mid March 2008, more than 8,000 boat people departed mostly from the coast of Bangladesh towards Thailand and then Malaysia, including about 5,000 during the sailing season from the end of October 2007 to the present.
Source: Forced Migration Review