Save the Children is deeply saddened by the deaths of at least 17 people, including children, when a boat carrying 90 Rohingya refugees capsized off the coast of Myanmar on Saturday.
Several of the bodies found were children aged between 11 and 12, according to local reports. More than 50 people remain missing.
May is the first month of the region's monsoon season, increasing the risk of capsizing to those taking perilous sea voyages in search of a better life. Hundreds of Rohingya have died in similar boat incidents in the past few years, Save the Children said.
Sultana Begum, Regional Humanitarian Advocacy and Policy Manager at Save the Children, said:
"This should be a wake-up call for us all. The long-drawn-out persecution of Rohingya people has now claimed more innocent lives, among them, children .
"Past experiences of violence, as well as poverty and insecurity, push Rohingya families to make these deadly sea journeys in search of a better life. These journeys are extremely dangerous, and those fleeing risk death, grave physical and mental harm, and sickness.
"The need to ensure that Rohingya people are safe, respected, and protected is as pressing as ever. Countries across the region should develop a system to monitor refugee boat movements and rapidly respond to prevent further loss of life at sea. They should then ensure their rights as refugees are respected in-country. Without this, it is difficult to see how the next generation of Rohingya children are able to have a future in which they are safe, protected and their rights are fulfilled."
Save the Children is one of the leading International NGOs working in Cox's Bazar District in Bangladesh. The agency is supporting Rohingya refugee children and their families with access to education, health and nutrition, food, water, shelter and child protection services. We have reached more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees, including 462,785 children since the response started in 2017.
For further enquiries please contact:
- Emily Wight / Emily.Wight@savethechildren.org
- Our media out of hours (BST) contact is firstname.lastname@example.org / +44(0)7831 650409
We have spokespeople available.
Please also check our Twitter account @Save_GlobalNews for news alerts, quotes, statements and location Vlogs.