Our friends at MOAS – Migrant Offshore Aid Station – are redeploying their flagship rescue boat from the Mediterranean to South-East Asia in an effort to help the increasing number of Rohingya refugees fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
The UN estimates that more than 120,000 Rohingya have made the journey in the last two weeks alone.
MOAS, who have saved more than 40,000 lives since 2014, worry that the EU’s emphasis on stopping people from leaving Libya – and even training coast guards to forcibly stop people and turn them back – is putting lives at risk.
“At present, there are too many questions without an answer, and too many doubts about those trapped or forced back to Libya,” said MOAS co-founder Regina Catrambone in a statement. “The horrific tales of those who survive depict a nightmare of abuse, violence, torture, kidnapping and extortion.
“MOAS does not want to become part of a scenario where no one pays attention to the people who deserve protection, instead only focusing on preventing them from arriving on European shores with no consideration of their fate when trapped on the other side of the sea.”
The organisation said that the boat “will deliver much-needed humanitarian assistance and aid to the Rohingya people, and will work to provide a platform for transparency, advocacy and accountability in the region”.
The United Nations has described the Rohingya as the most persecuted people on the planet, with Pope Francis appealing for an end to violence at the end of August.
We stand with our friends at MOAS in their condemnation of the EU’s strategy in Libya, where those in holding camps and detention centres face such horrors as torture, rape, violent attacks and modern-day slavery.