Boat people pushed out to sea by Malaysia & Indonesia

Boat people pushed out to sea by Malaysia & Indonesia

ASEAN refugee crisis quickly growing worse, with 1,600 boat people pushed back to sea & thousands more at sea for months with many more boats expected in near future.

A Rohingya man pleads with authorities as families try to shelter on a typical boat used by migrants to escape the Bangladesh-Myanmar border area. Indonesia and Malaysia have joined Thailand with a policy to refuse asylum to the boat people. (AP file photo)


Malaysia, Indonesia pushing seaworthy migrant boats back to sea

AP News agency

LANGKAWI – Abandoned at sea, thousands of Bangladeshis and members of Myanmar's long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority appear to have no place to go after both Malaysia and Indonesia refused to offer refuge to boatloads of hungry men, women and children.

Smugglers have fled wooden trawlers in recent days amid fear of a massive regional crackdown on human trafficking syndicates, leaving migrants to fend for themselves.

The United Nations (UN) pleaded for countries in the region to keep their borders open and help rescue those stranded.

"We won't let any foreign boats come in," Tan Kok Kwee, first admiral of Malaysia's maritime enforcement agency, said. 

Unless they're unseaworthy and sinking, he said, the navy will provide "provisions and send them away."

Hours earlier, Indonesia pushed back a boat packed with hundreds of Rohingya and Bangladeshis, saying they were given food, water and directions to Malaysia -- their original destination.

Maritime police officers near a boat which carried migrants in Langkawi May 12. Hundreds of migrants abandoned at sea by smugglers in Southeast Asia have reached land and relative safety in the past two days. But an estimated 6,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar remain trapped in crowded, wooden boats, migrant officials and activists said. (AP photo)

Southeast Asia is in the grips of a spiralling humanitarian crisis, with about 1,600 migrants landing on the shores of the two Muslim-majority countries that over the years have shown the most sympathy for the Rohingya's plight.

With thousands more believed to be in the busy Malacca Strait and nearby waters -- some stranded for more than two months -- activists believe many more boats will try to make land in coming days and weeks.

One boat begged Tuesday to be rescued at Malaysia's Langkawi island, but it became clear by nightfall no help was on the way. One activist said she could hear the children crying when she got a call through to the boat.


Labelled by the UN one of the world's most persecuted minorities, the Rohingya have for decades suffered from state-sanctioned discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Denied citizenship by national law, the Muslims are effectively stateless. Access to education and adequate health care is limited and freedom of movement severely restricted

In the last three years, attacks on Rohingya have left 280 people dead and forced 140,000 others into crowded camps just outside Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state, where they live under abysmal, apartheid-like conditions, with little or no opportunity for work.

That has sparked one of the biggest exoduses of boat people the region has seen since the Vietnam War, an estimated 100,000 men, women and children boarding ships in search of better lives in other countries since June 2012, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees.


The first stop, up until recently, was Thailand, where migrants were held in jungle camps until their families could raise hefty "ransoms' so they could continue onward, usually to Malaysia. Recent crackdowns, however, have forced the smugglers to change tactics --- instead holding people on small and large ships parked offshore until they collected about US$2,000.

Struggling to put a positive face on its dismal human-trafficking record, Thai authorities have discovered more than 70 former camps near its border with Malaysia, the biggest of which was found Tuesday. It appeared to be newly abandoned, well-constructed and able to house as many as 800 people, said Lt Gen Prakarn Chonlayuth, the southern regional army commander.

Dozens of graves also have been excavated, the victims believed to be Rohingya or Bangladeshi.


Malaysian Maritime Enforcement agency personnel gesture during a patrol along the along the coast of Langkawi Island on May 12. (AFP photo)

Spooked, agents and brokers have all but stopped bringing their human cargo to shore. And in the last three or four days, captains and smugglers have fled their ships, some jumping into speedboats, leaving migrants with no fuel, food or drinking water, survivors told The Associated Press.

In some cases, the Rohingya or Bangladeshis have succeeded in commandeering boats, bringing them as close to land as possible and then swimming the rest of the way.

On Tuesday, a boat was stranded not far from Malaysia's Langkawi island, with hundreds of desperate Rohingya, about 50 of them women, said Chris Lewa, director of the non-profit Arakan Project.

They told her by phone that their captain had fled days ago, and that they needed to be rescued.

Soon after, she heard cheers, and people on board spotted a white vessel with flashing lights. When they realized authorities weren't there to help, however, women started to scream.

"Oh! I could hear children crying!," she told AP. "It was terrible! I can hear them."

A former US Congressman urged the American government to step in

"Immediate action is needed to rescue thousands of Rohingya before the Andaman Sea becomes a floating mass grave," said Tom Andrews, who recently returned from Myanmar and Malaysia, where he met with families of fleeing Rohingya.

Addressing the source of the crisis -- the systematic government abuse and persecution of the Rohingya -- is also crucial, he said in a statement.

First Adm Tan, of the Malaysia's maritime enforcement agency, meanwhile, said the waters around Langkawi would be patrolled 24 hours a day by eight ships.

Clothes left behind on a boat that carried Rohingya migrants for three months is seen at Langkawi island, in Malaysia's northern state of Kedah, May 12. (Reuters photo)

More than 1,100 migrants have landed on the island since Sunday, the country's Home Ministry said in a statement. Of those, 486 were Myanmar citizens and 682 Bangladeshis. There were 993 men, it said, 104 women and 61 children.

For now, survivors on the island were being held in two separate holding centres, women and children in the sports hall and the men in another facility. But they would soon be transferred to a detention centre on the Malaysian mainland.

Fifteen-year-old Hasana was standing with another girl outside her temporary quarters.

She said she was an orphan, having lost both her parents when she was young, and that she told her grandmother she didn't see a life for herself in Myanmar, where it was a struggle just to get enough food to eat. The teen said she had decided to join a group of friends who wanted to go to Malaysia.

She paid $200 for what turned out to be a harrowing journey by boat, she said, describing how one man was savagely attacked just for asking for food.

Looking around her at the chaos, she now worriedly asked: "Am I going to be sent back?"

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  • abandon: to leave someone/something - ปล่อยทิ้งไว้
  • abandoned: left alone by someone who is supposed to look after you - ถูกปล่อยทิ้งไว้
  • abuse (noun): cruel, violent or unfair treatment, especially of someone who does not have the power to prevent it - การข่มเหง, การปฏิบัติไม่ดีต่อ
  • abysmal: extremely bad or low in quality - แย่สุดๆ, เลวร้ายมาก, ที่มีมาตรฐานต่ำมาก
  • access: having the opportunity to have or use something - มีโอกาสในการใช้
  • according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
  • activist: someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change, especially someone who is a member of an organisation - นักกิจกรรม
  • address: to deal with a problem - จัดการปัญหา
  • adequate: good enough or large enough for a particular purpose - พอเพียง
  • admiral (noun): an officer of very high rank in the navy - พลเรือเอก
  • agency (noun): a government department that provides a particular service - หน่วยงานราชการ
  • agent (noun): a person or company that buys or sells something for someone else - ตัวแทน
  • amid: at the same time as - ท่ามกลาง
  • apartheid: the political system that existed in the past in South Africa in which only white people had political rights and power - นโยบายการแบ่งแยกสีผิว (ในแอฟริกาใต้)
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • beg: to ask somebody for something especially in an anxious way because you want or need it very much - อ้อนวอน, ขอร้อง
  • board: to get onto a ship, aircraft, train, or bus - ขึ้น(เรือ  รถเมล์ รถไฟ เครื่องบิน)
  • border: the official line separating two areas, regions or countries - เขตแดน อาณาเขต
  • broker: a person who buys and sells things for other people - นายหน้า
  • capital: the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from - เมืองหลวง
  • cargo: things that are being sent by ship, plane, train or truck - สินค้าที่บรรทุกและจัดส่งโดยเรือ เครื่องบินหรือรถไฟ
  • chaos: a situation in which everything is confused and in a mess - การจราจล
  • cheer: an atmosphere of happiness - ความสดชื่นรื่นเริง
  • cheers: the sound that people make in a large crowd when they are happy about something -
  • citizen: someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country - พลเมือง 
  • citizenship: the legal right to be a citizen of a particular country - สิทธิความเป็นพลเมือง
  • collect (verb): to gather together a group/set/amount of things, often of the same sort - สะสม, เก็บรวบรวม
  • commandeer: to take something that belongs to someone else - ยึด
  • commander (noun): the head of large military unit or a crew - ผู้บังคับบัญชา
  • commission: a group of people who have been formally chosen to discover information about a problem or examine the reasons why the problem exists - คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
  • conditions: the circumstances or situation in which people live, work or do things - เหตุการณ์, สภาพการ, สถานการณ์
  • congressman (noun): a member of a country's congress, a law-making body - สมาชิก(ขาย)รัฐสภา
  • construct: to build or make something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - สร้าง
  • continue: happening or existing for a period of time without interruption - ซึ่งติดต่อกัน, ซึ่งต่อเนื่องกัน
  • crackdown: strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity - การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่
  • crisis: an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation - วิกฤตการณ์
  • crisis: an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation - วิกฤต
  • crowded: packed; full of people or things - แน่น
  • crucial (adj): extremely important because it effects the result of something - สำคัญยิ่ง
  • decades: periods of ten years - เป็นสิบๆปี
  • deny: to not allow someone to have or do something - ไม่ยอมรับ, ปฏิเสธ
  • desperate: very worried or confused because you do not know how to deal with an unpleasant or dangerous situation - อย่างสิ้นหวัง  อย่างหมดหวัง
  • destination: the place where someone or something is going - จุดหมายปลายทาง
  • detention centre: a place where people who have committed offences are kept in detention - สถานกักกัน
  • direction: the way something is moving or coming from - ทิศทาง
  • discover: to find somebody/something, or learning about something that was not known about before - ค้นพบ
  • discrimination: the practice of treating someone or a particular group in society less fairly than others - การเลือกปฏิบัติ, การแบ่งแยก
  • dismal: extremely bad - มืดมัว,ห่อเหี่ยว
  • dozen: a group of twelve of the same thing - หนึ่งโหล
  • effectively: in reality - ตามความเป็นจริง
  • enforcement: the process of making sure that something happens, especially that people obey a law or rule - การบังคับใช้กฎหมาย
  • estimated: thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available - ประมาณการ
  • excavate: to dig in the ground in order to find things from the past - การขุดซากดึกดำบรรพ์
  • exodus: a situation in which a lot of people leave a place or activity at the same time - การจากไปของผู้คนเป็นจำนวนมาก
  • facility (noun): a building, equipment, etc., used for a particular purpose - โรงงาน, สถานบริการ, สิ่งก่อสร้าง, สิ่งอำนวยความสะดวก
  • fend for themselves: take care of themselves; not helped by anyone -
  • flash: something that shines very brightly for a short time - แสงวาบขึ้นมา
  • flee: to leave a place or person quickly because you are afraid of possible danger - หนี อพยพ
  • float: an object that floats in the water - สิ่งที่ลอยได้ เช่น แพ
  • force (verb): to make someone do something that they don't want to do - บังคับ
  • former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
  • freedom: being free to do what you want and go where you want - อิสรภาพ, เสรีภาพ
  • fuel: any material that produces heat or power, usually when it is burnt - เชื้อเพลิง
  • grave: a place in the ground where a dead person is buried - หลุมศพ, หลุมฝังศพ
  • harrowing: causing anguish; talking of ill-treatment, torture, torment, abuse - ทรมาน, ทารุณ, ประทุษร้าย, ทรมาทรกรรม, ทำให้ลำบาก, ทำทารุณ
  • hefty: large; expensive - หนัก,ใหญ่, แพง
  • humanitarian: relating to efforts to help people who are living in very bad conditions and are suffering because of a war, flood, earthquake etc - มีมนุษยธรรม
  • immediate: existing now and needing urgent attention - ปัจจุบัน, โดยตรง
  • in the grips of: in the middle of a difficult situation that is difficult to exit or cure, such as a disease or some crisis -
  • journey: travelling from one place to another, especially when they are far apart - การเดินทาง
  • label: to use a word or phrase to describe someone or something, especially one that is not completely fair or true - ติดชื่อ
  • limited: not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent - จำกัด
  • mainland: a large mass of land that forms the main part of a country but does not include any islands belonging to the country - แผ่นดินใหญ่
  • majority: more than 50 percent of a group - เสียงส่วนใหญ่
  • maritime: connected with human activity at sea; near the sea or coast - ทางทะเล, เกี่ยวกับทะเล
  • maritime: involving ships or the business of moving people and goods in ships - ทางทะเล
  • mass: a large amount of something - ปริมาณมาก
  • massive: very large in size, amount or number - ใหญ่โต
  • meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
  • migrant: someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work (an immigrant is someone who comes to live in a country from another country) - ผู้อพยพ, คนงานต่างถิ่น
  • minority: of a part of a population that is different in race, religion or culture form most of the population - ชนกลุ่มน้อย
  • national (adjective): for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
  • nightfall: the time in the evening when it becomes dark - ช่วงเวลาก่อนมืดมิด, ช่วงเริ่มมืด
  • non-profit (adj): without the aim of making a profit (earning money for a company, yourself) - ซึ่งไม่มุ่งหวังผลกำไร
  • offer: an act of saying that you are willing to do something for somebody or give something to somebody - เสนอเพื่อให้พิจารณา
  • offshore: happening or existing in the sea, not far from the land - ซึ่งอยู่ห่างจากฝั่ง, ที่อยู่นอกฝั่ง
  • on board: on a ship, aircraft or vehicle - บนหรือใน (เรือ, รถ, เครื่องบินหรือพาหนะอื่น)
  • onwards: continuing from a particular time - ต่อมา
  • opportunity (noun): a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something - โอกาส
  • original: existing at the beginning of a particular period, process or activity - ซึ่งเป็นแบบฉบับ, ต้นกำเนิด
  • orphan: to make a child an orphan (a child whose parents have died) - ทำให้เป็นเด็กกำพร้า
  • packed: crowded; full of people or things - แน่น
  • patrol: to move regularly around a place in order to prevent trouble or crime or to watch for an enemy - ลาดตระเวน
  • persecuted: treated extremely badly or refused equal rights - ถูกกลั่นแกล้ง ถูกลงโทษ
  • persecution: unfair or cruel treatment over a long period of time because of race, religion, or political beliefs - การกลั่นแกล้ง, การข่มเหง, การข่มเหงรังแก
  • plead: to ask for something in an emotional way - ขอร้อง, วิงวอน
  • plight: an unpleasant condition, especially a serious, sad or difficult one - สภาพเลวร้าย
  • positive: good - ที่ดี
  • provision (noun): the act of supplying somebody with something that they need or want; something that is supplied - การจัดหา, การจัดเตรียม, การเตรียมการ
  • quarters: rooms that are provided for people (monks, soldiers, workers, servants, etc.) to live in - ที่พักอาศัย
  • raise (money): to collect money for something -
  • ransom: the amount of money that someone wants to be paid before they will let a person go or give back a valuable object - เงินค่าไถ่
  • realise (verb): to know about - ตระหนัก  รู้
  • recent: happening or starting a short time ago - เร็วๆ นี้
  • recently (adverb): not long ago - เมื่อไม่นานมานี้, เมื่อเร็วๆ นี้
  • record: a written account of something that is kept so that it can be looked at and used in the future - บันทึก, รายงาน
  • refuge: a place where you go to protect yourself from something dangerous or threatening - ที่ลี้ภัย ที่หลบภัย
  • refugee: someone who leaves their country or living place, especially during a war or other threatening event - ผู้ลี้ภัย
  • refuse (verb): to say or show that you will not do something; to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ
  • region: a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders - ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ
  • regional: of or relating to a region - เกี่ยวกับภูมิภาค
  • rescue: saving a person or animal from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - การช่วยชีวิต
  • restricted: limited or controlled - ซึ่งถูกยับยั้ง, ซึ่งถูกควบคุม
  • sanctioned (adj): formally given permission or approval - ได้รับการอนุมัติ, ได้รับการอนุญาต
  • savagely: in an extremely violent, wild or frightening way - อย่างป่าเถื่อน, อย่างโหดร้าย
  • scream (noun): crying or saying something loudly and usually on a high note, especially because of strong emotions such as fear, excitement or anger กรีดร้อง - เสียงกรีดร้อง, เสียงดังแสบแก้วหู
  • search (verb): to look somewhere carefully in order to find someone/something - ค้นหา
  • separate: different; not connected - ซึ่งไม่ต่อเนื่อง, ซึ่งไม่เชื่อมกัน
  • severely: very seriously - อย่างรุนแรง
  • shore: the land along the edge of the sea or ocean, a lake or another large area of water - ชายฝั่ง
  • sink (verb): to (cause something or someone to) go down below the surface or to the bottom of a liquid or soft substance (past: sank) - จม
  • smuggler: a person who takes things or people to or from a place secretly and often illegally - ผู้ลักลอบขนสินค้าหรือคนหรือสัตว์เข้าและออกจากประเทศอย่างผิด
  • source: the cause of something - ต้นกำเนิด
  • spark: to make something happen, especially something bad - ก่อให้เกิด
  • spiral: to increase (get worse, etc.) faster and faster -
  • spook: to make someone suddenly feel frightened or nervous - ทำให้ตกใจ, ทำให้กลัว
  • spotted: seen; noticed - ปรากฏให้เห็น
  • state: government - รัฐบาล
  • stateless: not having citizenship in any country - ไร้สัญชาติ
  • statement: something that you say or write that gives information or an opinion - แถลงการณ์, คำแถลง
  • step in (verb): intervene in a situation; mediate - เป็นผู้ไกล่เกลี่ย, เป็นสื่อกลาง, ไกล่เกลี่ย
  • strait: a narrow passage of water that connects two seas or large areas of water - ช่องแคบ
  • strand: to leave someone somewhere with no way of going anywhere else - ปล่อยเกาะ ถูกทิ้งไว้
  • stranded: left somewhere with no way of going anywhere else - ปล่อยเกาะ ถูกทิ้งไว้
  • struggle (verb): to try hard to do something that you find very difficult - พยายาม; ต่อสู้
  • struggling: having serious difficulties - มีความยุ่งยาก
  • succeed (verb): to achieve the goals you wanted to achieve - มีผลสำเร็จ, ประสบผลสำเร็จ, ประสบชัยชนะ
  • suffer: to experience something very unpleasant or painful - ประสบ
  • survivor: someone who still exists after an event that could have killed or destroyed them - ผู้รอดชีวิต
  • sympathy: a natural feeling of kindness and understanding that you have for someone who is experiencing something very unpleasant - ความเห็นอกเห็นใจ
  • syndicate: a group of people or companies who work together and help each other in order to achieve a particular aim - สมาคม, องค์การ, สหการ , การรวมกลุ่มเป็นสมาคม
  • systematic (adj): done according to a system or plan, in a thorough, efficient or determined way - ซึ่งเป็นระบบ
  • tactic: a planned way of doing something - ยุทธวิธี
  • temporary: done or used for only a limited period of time, i.e., not permanent - ชั่วคราว
  • terrible: very bad, having a very poor quality - แย่มาก, ไม่ได้เรื่อง, ห่วย
  • trafficking: dealing in illegal goods, like drugs, weapons or in illegally moving humans or animals from one place to another - การค้าสิ่งที่ผิดกฎหมาย
  • transferred: changed someone’s job or responsibilities - โยกย้ายตำแหน่ง
  • trawler (noun): a boat used for fishing by pulling a large net through the water - เรืออวนลาก
  • unseaworthy: a boat that cannot travel at sea; a boat that cannot be used as a boat -
  • vessel: a boat or ship - เรือ
  • victims : people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc. - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
  • well-: to do something "well" in a good and excellent way -
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