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Dreaming of a better life, desperate Rohingya risk leaving Myanmar

Rights group calls for lifting of travel restrictions imposed on the persecuted Muslim minority

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Dreaming of a better life, desperate Rohingya risk leaving Myanmar

Rohingya migrants who illegally entered Thailand after being smuggled overland from Myanmar's Rakhine state and were bound for Malaysia sit in a house in Bangkok's Don Mueang district on Jan. 3. (Photo: Thai Immigration Bureau/AFP)

On Jan. 6, police in Yangon, the commercial hub of Myanmar, raided a house and detained 99 Rohingya who had fled conflict-torn Rakhine state and were bound for Malaysia.

The detained Rohingya, mostly women and children, could not show travel documents. They came from various townships in Rakhine including Sittwe, Maungdaw and Buthidaung and were heading to Malaysia to work, according to media reports.

The group have been quarantined in a university on Yangon’s outskirts where five of them tested positive for the coronavirus, according to media reports.

Human Rights Watch has called for the release of the groups of Rohingya and urged that they be permitted to travel freely subject to Covid-19 restrictions applicable to everyone in Myanmar if they test negative.

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