According to the Dhaka Tribune, 70 people have been rescued and were given primary treatment in the hours following the trawler's sinking near St. Martin's Island in the Bay of Bengal. Rescue operations are still underway, the newspaper reported.
Bangladesh has been experiencing an influx of Rohingya refugees in recent years from neighbouring Myanmar as reports from the region continuously describe systematic violence against the Muslim minority in the country.
At least 15 #Rohingya refugees have died as a trawler sank in the Bay of Bengal near St Martin's Island while trying to go to Malaysia illegally, Lt Hayat Ibna Siddique, media officer of #Bangladesh Coast Guard, has confirmed. pic.twitter.com/0Z9MQHclZO— Mosrur Zunaid (@MosrurZunaid) February 11, 2020
According to UN figures, around 700,000 Rohingya refugees now live in squalid conditions in Bangladeshi refugee camps following hostilities that erupted when the government launched an offensive in Rakhine as a response to an attack on security forces' posts in August of 2017.
In 2018, the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar issued a report saying that there were grounds to believe that the Myanmar leadership had committed genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
On 11 November 2019, the Republic of The Gambia initiated proceedings at the UN-backed International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Myanmar, accusing it of engaging in atrocities on a massive scale against the Rohingya Muslims. In January, the ICJ ordered the country to use all possible measures to prevent acts that constitute genocide against the Rohingya.