Geneva, 21 January 2023 (TDI): The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR’s Spokesperson, Shabia Mantoo in a press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva briefed about the condition of Rohingya refugees.

UNHCR Report on Rohingya 

She said that, according to the latest report of UNHCR, more than 3500 Rohingya attempted sea crossings in 39 boats in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal in 2022. This represents a 360 percent increase in similar journeys to a year earlier. 

UNHCR warns that these maritime movements are hazardous as many people would die on high seas. To resolve this issue UNHCR seeks a comprehensive regional response. 

Also, UNHCR has recorded an alarming increase in the death toll as 348 people died and went missing at sea in 2022. Some 3040 people debarked in 2022 after a sea journey in Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.

45 percent of these individuals included women and children. In the last months of 2022, 450 Rohingya disembarked in Aceh, Indonesia, in four boats.

One boat carrying over 100 Rohingya disembarked in Sri Lanka whereas one boat is feared to have sunk in early December with about 180 individuals on board. Several boats that departed in December remained at sea. 

UNHCR Appeal to Maritime Authorities 

UNHCR urged the maritime authorities in the region to rescue and disembark people. The people that departed in these boats highlighted the sense of desperation and alienation.

People who disembarked reported that they took dangerous sea journeys to find protection, security, family reunification, and livelihoods in other countries. 

There were victims of trafficking, survivors of sexual and gender violence, and separated children among them. There is a need for humanitarian assistance and responsibility.

It could be distributed evenly among countries in the region to ensure protection responses are predictable, equitable, and sustainable.

The regional and international communities need to combine the support address causes of displacement in Myanmar. This would help to resolve the refugee crisis. 

The Bali Process

The current crisis is a crisis of solidarity in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The Bali Process will hold its 8th Ministerial meeting in the coming February.

This forum is established for policy dialogue, information sharing, and cooperation to address people smuggling, human trafficking, and related transnational crime.

UNHCR appealed to the regional countries to present a regional response in order to mitigate this crisis of the Rohingya community.