An estimated 6,000-20,000 Rohingya from Myanmar/Burma are at sea, fleeing the ethnic persecution that has been going on for years. Their lives have become worse and worse. The Myanmar government keeps denying more than a million people basic rights, such as food, medical treatment and education. Not to mention the freedom to live in their own villages, the freedom to move around freely, and the freedom to marry whom they may want. As life as gotten intolerable for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, they have seen no other alternative than to flee by sea.
There is, however, no country willing to take these desperate people in. Both Malaysia and Indonesia turned away boats with hundreds of people last week. Thai authorities have also stated that they will not allow any boats to land. For the ones who have decided to turn around and go back to Myanmar/Burma, it has become a reverse smuggling game. Human traffickers are demanding 200-300 dollars to return a person from the boat back to his or her village. Having already spent all their money on the voyage, very few of them have the money to pay such a fee.
The Rohingya people are desperately in need. In May 2012, sectarian violence broke out in Rakhine State between the Buddhist Rakhine people and the predominately Muslim Rohingya. Around 140,000 people remain displaced in and around Sittwe and Maungdaw by the violence. These people urgently need food, shelter, medicine and protection. Partners has been providing emergency relief to those in camps near Sittwe, including rice distribution, basic medical support, tarps for shelter as well as animals, seeds and fertilizer to help establish more sustainable food supply. PLEASE HELP provide continuing life-saving care to vulnerable children and families. Learn how you can help at www.partnersworld.org/save-the-rohingya