Rohingya death toll at sea in 2023 highest in nine years, says UNHCR

Some 569 Rohingya people died or went missing at sea last year – the most since 2014 – as they embarked on dangerous boat journeys to Southeast Asia, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said nearly 4,500 Rohingya people took boats across the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal in 2023, fleeing crowded refugee camps in Bangladesh or persecution in their native Myanmar.

Survivors have shared horrifying accounts of abuse and exploitation during the journey, including gender-based violence, the UNHCR statement said.

Over one million Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar live in bamboo-and-plastic camps in the Bangladeshi border district of Cox’s Bazar, most after fleeing a military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.  

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