Fishermen, Navy help boat refugees back to sea

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Its arrival came as fears grow about conditions in overcrowded camps for the minority fleeing violence in Myanmar. The refugees, who use the firewood for cooking, have already cleared 5,000 acres of forest, Cox's Bazar deputy district administrator Mahidur Rahman said.

Following a military crackdown on Rohingya living in the Rakhine state in Myanmar previous year, over 620,000 refugees have crossed the border into Bangladesh and settled in camps set up along the border.

"This is not a problem that will go away on its own", Matthew Smith, CEO of Fortify Rights, said in a statement.

The boat stopped at the island because it had been damaged in a storm.

Those sources also say that that the special envoy's report addresses "strong signals" that crimes against humanity have been committed in the country.

Rohingya migrants trying to travel south by boat have been rare since Thai authorities clamped down on regional trafficking networks in 2015, leaving thousands of migrants abandoned in open waters or jungle camps.

"Noor", a 16-year-old Rohingya girl from Maungdaw Township in Myanmar's Rakhine State told Fortify Rights that she boarded a ship off the coast of Myanmar in February to flee the aftermath of attacks on her village by Myanmar state security forces.

Chris Lewa, of Rohingya advocacy group the Arakan Project, said the vessel was thought to have left a week ago from the Rakhine state capital Sittwe. Thai authorities confirmed that they sent the boat back out to sea.

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Customary worldwide law as well as Article 9 of the global Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a state party, protects the right to liberty.

About 700,000 Rohingya who face severe discrimination in Myanmar have fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape a brutal army counterinsurgency campaign.

Malaysia intercepted a boat carrying 56 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar off its northern island of Langkawi on Tuesday and will allow them to enter on humanitarian grounds, with rights groups expecting further such perilous journeys by sea.

Experts and dignitaries from Bangladesh and several other countries as well as different worldwide organizations made the call in the "Dhaka Declaration" that they came up with at the end of the conference, outlining measures to find sustainable solutions to the ongoing Rohingya crisis.

The aim of her visit is to observe firsthand the humanitarian impact of the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine and the conflict in other states.

Fortify Rights CEO Matthew Smith said governments in the Southeast Asian region needed to follow their legal obligations to protect Rohingya refugees instead of packing them off to potential death sentences at seas.

Rohingya in the refugee camps and the global community have called for guarantees of a safe return and establishment of protected areas in Rakhine before repatriation begins. "We will continue to support the government's efforts to ensure a safe and dignified life for the displaced Rohingya families and host communities".

Reported byBenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

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