Inside Story

Who is responsible for Rohingya refugees rescued at sea?

Rohingya refugees have been caught up in a diplomatic dispute about who should take them in.

Nearly 2,500 Rohingya refugees risked their lives last year by taking dangerous boat journeys.

They are looking for safety and better living conditions after years of systematic discrimination and persecution in Myanmar.

Rights groups are warning thousands more could take such journeys hoping to reach countries mainly in Southeast Asia.

Eighty-one Rohingya who had been stranded in the Andaman Sea for nearly two weeks were rescued by the Indian coastguard on Friday.

Eight people died and many fell ill after suffering severe dehydration as they ran out of food and water.

The Indian government has been trying to arrange for their return to Bangladesh.

But Bangladeshi officials say they have no obligation to shelter the Rohingya, who were found closer to Myanmar and Indian territories.

So, what are the consequences if they are sent back to Myanmar?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Commodore C Uday Bhaskar – retired navy officer and director of Society for Policy Studies, an independent geopolitical think-tank

Yasmin Ullah – rohingya activist

Saad Hammadi – South Asia campaigner with a focus on Bangladesh at Amnesty International