World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Bangladesh Must Lift Boat Ban Preventing Rescue Of Rohingya

October 9th, 2017

As Desperate Refugees Flee Destruction, Bangladesh Must Lift Boat Ban Preventing Rescue Of Stranded Rohingya

October 9 - Since October 1st, thousands of Rohingya have been stranded on Myanmar's beaches, waiting for rescue, but boats cannot arrive because Bangladesh’s government has banned fishing boats from operating in the bay. Bangladesh says this is for the protection of the spawning of rare fish, and additionally to clamp down on drug trafficking. As a result of the ban, fishing boats ferrying Rohingya over the past week have been destroyed by the government, and sailors arrested, a number of whom have now been sentenced to 6 months in prison.

Burma Task Force, understands and appreciates Bangladesh’s need to prevent drug trafficking, and also to replenish the population of fish in the bay. Burma Task Force believes these goals can be achieved without thousands of Rohingya being stranded on beaches for weeks. The thousands of Rohingya on these beaches are vulnerable to attacks, and have already been targeted, credible reports of large scale massacres have been reported to us by sources on the ground. The prospect of attack has propelled many of the stranded Rohingya to escape any way they can, and many are resorting to using rickety, makeshift rafts and boats, with hundreds of men, women and children already drowned.

Imam Malik Mujahid, the Chair of Burma Task Force, noted the urgent need for Bangladesh to lift the ban, “We praised Bangladesh’s handling of the refugee crisis, they went above and beyond their capacity-- but the blanket ban on fishing boats puts thousands of Rohingyas at risk of massacre and drowning. This is an unfolding catastrophe that is worsening and it is preventable. We urge Bangladesh to immediately lift the ban.”

Burma Task Force supports the efforts of local activists who are calling for a rescue service, whereby local Bangladeshi sailors would be paid to provide rescue boats as a free service to the Rohingya, fully equipped with life jackets and emergency relief supplies for the journey. The service would limit the number of people in a boat at any one time and only use experienced sailors in sea-worthy boats, avoiding the worst of weather, thus reducing the risk of accidents and drownings.

The service would help prevent Rohingya from being exploited by traffickers and allow those without funds to escape. Funds for an initial trial have been raised, life jackets bought and sailors identified, but due to the ban, sailors will not go out to make the rescues. Officials in meetings with local authorities, lifeguard and the army, whilst sympathetic in some instances, have all stated that they would need a policy change from above their rank to allow such a rescue service. Burma Task Force calls on the Bangladesh Government to make this change.

Based in downtown Chicago, Burma Task Force is a coalition of 19 American and Canadian Muslim organizations dedicated to ending the suffering of Myanmar’s Rohingya. For more information please visit:


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>


Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC