Mixed Movements in South-East Asia: 2016

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 03 May 2017 View Original

Key figures

  • 43,000 Rohingya refugees estimated to have crossed from northern Rakhine State into Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh in 2016

  • 168,500 Rohingya refugees who have led Myanmar since 2012, including 44,000 in 2016

  • 112,500 Rohingya refugees believed to have travelled by sea to Malaysia from 2012 to 2015

  • 18% Percentage of surveyed Rohingya refugee women and girls married before the age of 16

2016 was the fifth consecutive year of large-scale movements of Rohingya refugees from Rakhine state in Myanmar to other countries by land or sea, bringing the estimated total since 2012 to 168,500. A year-by-year break- down of the outlow is presented below on page 8.*


  • Following violence in northern Rakhine state, Myanmar, in October and November 2016, as many as 43,000 Rohingya refugees were estimated to have crossed from northern Rakhine state into the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh on foot and by boat across the Naf River by 31 December 2016. An additional 31,000 newly arrived Rohingya refugees were identiied in Bangladesh in January and February 2017.

  • Thousands of Rohingya refugees were also believed to have travelled to India overland via Bangladesh in 2016, including 1,000 who have already registered with UNHCR, continuing what has been a steady low since 2012.

  • Mixed movements of refugees and migrants by sea across the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea remained disrupted in 2016, with only rumors of isolated attempts and no confirmed maritime arrivals. Small numbers of Rohingya attempted the overland journey from Myanmar to Malaysia in 2016, but dozens were apprehended en route.

  • The absence of large-scale mixed movements from Myanmar to Malaysia in 2016 followed a peak in such movements from 2012 to 2015, when over 100,000 Rohingya refugees were estimated to have attempted the sea journey alongside Bangladeshi migrants. UNHCR estimates on deaths, demographics, and the circumstances of women and girls during that period is presented below on pages 7-8 and 11-12.

  • At least seven vessels carrying a total of at least 89 asylum-seekers and migrants sailed through South-East Asia in an attempt to reach Australia in 2016. At the end of 2016, there were 1,661 refugees and asylum-seekers who attempted to reach Australia by sea located in offshore processing centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru or in detention centres in Australia.

*The total number of Rohingya refugees and internally displaced persons in the Asia-Paciic region is estimated at 420,000 and 120,000, respectively.