The attention of the Government of Bangladesh has been drawn to a News article carried by BBC under the headline ‘Rohingya Crisis: UN urges rescue of refugees adrift at sea’.
Referring to the UN, the report has wrongly claimed that these people were adrift at the sea off the coast of Bangladesh, while the press release issued by the UNHCR and the subsequent news release of the UN clearly mentioned that the boat was located on the Andaman sea. The UN news release clearly specified the location of Andaman Sea which lies to the southeast of Bay of Bengal, south of Myanmar, west of Thailand and east of India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
It may be mentioned that the boat has been traced approx. 1700 km away from Bangladesh at a location which is approx 492 km from Myanmar, 363 km from Thailand, 281 km from Indonesia and 147 km from India. The location is far off the territorial water of Bangladesh and proximate to other littoral states.
Bangladesh is respectful of its international obligations under the UNCLOS. It is worth mentioning that in earlier occasions when other littoral countries of the region repeatedly denied access to the Rohingyas adrift on the sea, it was the Government of Bangladesh who came to the rescue of the people, who were found on our territorial water. Other states, particularly those, on whose territorial water the vessel has been found bears the primary responsibility and they should fulfill their obligation under international law and burden-sharing principle.