Refugees/Migrants - South-East Asia


The root causes of refugee flows continue to persist around the Bay of Bengal. Late August 2017 saw mass displacement after attacks on border guard posts in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State triggered a military response. More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, putting a strain on aid resources. This is the largest mass refugee movement in the region in decades. The speed and scale of the influx has resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency. Most are now reliant on humanitarian assistance for food and other life-saving needs. Basic services that were available before the influx are under severe strain due to the massive increase in people in the area. (ISCG, 12 Nov 2018)

This followed a smaller refugee influx in October 2016, when attacks on border guard posts — and the security operations that followed — led to an estimated 87,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh from Rakhine between 9 October 2016 and the end of July 2017. (IOM, 30 Jul 2017)

As of 31 December 2019, the total Rohingya refugee population in Cox's Bazar was estimated to be at least 914,000 people, including people who had left Myanmar after earlier waves of violence. (ISCG, 31 Dec 2019)

On 3 March 2020, United Nations agencies and NGO partners launched a Joint Response Plan for USD877 million to respond to the needs of approximately 855,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, and over 444,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in the host communities. (IOM, UNHCR, UN RC Bangladesh & ISCG, 3 Mar 2020)

Within Rakhine state, some 120,607 people were already internally displaced due to previous outbreaks of violence in 2012. (Shelter Cluster, 31 Jul 2017)

In May 2015, more than 5,000 refugees and migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar were abandoned by smugglers on the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, triggering a regional crisis. Since then, regional maritime movements have declined due to intensified interdiction efforts, greater awareness of the risks, and the lack of legal status in destination countries. (UNHCR, 30 June 2016)

Approximately 12 of every 1,000 people who embark on mixed maritime movements from the Bay of Bengal do not survive the boat journey. This means as many as 2,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya may have died before ever reaching land between 2012 and 2015 — adding up to a fatality rate higher than in the Mediterranean Sea. (UNHCR, 23 Feb 2016)


Cox's Bazar

Rakhine Situation


Myanmar Humanitarian Update No. 1 | 26 November 2020

This humanitarian update, covering 1 and 26 November, is produced by OCHA Myanmar in collaboration with Inter-Cluster Coordination Group and wider humanitarian partners. The next update will be...

Situation Report
Originally published

South-East Asia


Malaysia: End Abusive Immigration Detention

Release Children; Allow UN Refugee Agency Access to Detained Migrants (Bangkok) – Malaysia should immediately release all children held in immigration detention facilities and allow the United...

News and Press Release
Originally published


Beyond Bay of Bengal

Australia + 2 more

Refugee Council of Australia: Our impact in 2019-2020

100s of meetings with key decision makers Throughout 2019-20, the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) engaged in hundreds of direct lobbying meetings with key decision-makers – federal and state MPs...

Originally published

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