Myanmar navy rescues 102 boat people

Yangon, July 14 (IANS) The Myanmar navy has rescued more than a hundred Bangladeshi boat people from an islet near the country’s southernmost region, an official report said on Tuesday.

They were left on the small islet in early June and the Myanmar navy is searching the area for more such people, who will be sent back to their country of origin, Xinhua reported.

While some migrants are Bangladeshis escaping poverty at home, many are members of Myanmar’s 1.1 million Rohingya Muslim minority who live in the country’s Rakhine state.

Myanmar does not consider the Rohingya as citizens, and denies it discriminates against them or that they are fleeing persecution. It does not call them Rohingya but refer to them as Bengalis, indicating they are from Bangladesh.

Last month, Myanmar had sent back the first batch of 187 Bangladeshi “boat people” out of the 200 rescued on May 21 off Myanmar’s Rakhine coast after citizenship verification.

The citizenship verification on the second batch of 733 people, rescued on May 29 at sea near Pyapon township has also been completed.

Investigation by the Myanmar government found that some of the “boat people” had fallen victim to human trafficking rings and crime syndicates after receiving offers of work in Thailand and Malaysia from illegal job brokers.

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