UN Appeals to Singapore to take Burmese Refugees
Singapore has denied entry to a Vietnamese-registered cargo ship carrying 40 Burmese asylum seekers who were plucked from the sea after their boat sank in the Bay of Bengal.
The United Nations refugee agency has appealed to Singapore to reverse its decision to refuse entry to 40 Burmese asylum seekers who have been stranded on a Vietnamese cargo ship for seven days.
A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the group plucked from the sea 30 hours after their boat sank should be allowed to ”safely disembark on humanitarian grounds”.
While not naming Singapore, the spokesperson said ”governments at the ship’s closest port” should accept the asylum seekers, who are Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Burma who were fleeing violent upheaval in the country’s western Rakhine state.
The asylum seekers are on the 27,000-tonne Nosco Victory, which is believed to have been anchored off Singapore since Sunday when Singapore authorities refused it permission to dock, saying ”they do not appear to be persons eligible to enter Singapore”.