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More Boat People Drown in Bid to Flee Burma, Prompting U.N. Call for Action

on November 8, 2013

World

After at least 70 people drowned over the weekend as they tried to escape hardship in Burma’s conflict-weary Arakan state. The latest tragedy has prompted the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to call on Burma’s government and the international community to do more promote reconciliation and coexistence in Arakan, where communal violence has displaced thousands.

The boat that capsized on Sunday was believed to have been carrying Rohingya Muslims, who represent the lion’s share of the 140,000 people displaced after several rounds of ethno-religious violence erupted in the country’s second most impoverished state in 2012. Sadly, the accident is the latest in a string of similar tragedies.

According to UNHCR, approximately 24,000 people have fled from both Burma and Bangladesh by boat during the first eight months of 2013, most of whom are believed to be Rohingya.  And more may be fleeing soon. As the rainy season ends, greater numbers of…

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