Stateless Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are pleading for help with thousands boarding boats for the risky journey to Malaysia and Indonesia. Nathan Frandino reports.
With no home to call their own, hundreds of Rohingya Muslims wander the streets of a camp for the internally displaced. The camp is located in western Myanmar, where most of the Rohingya were born. The ethnic minority has faced state-sanctioned discrimination in the majority-Buddhist country for decades. But now... there's an exodus underway as the Rohingya look for a better life elsewhere. Some 2,500 migrants have fled Myanmar by boat this week, making the perilous journey across the Bay of Bengal to Malaysia and Indonesia. Back at the camp, families must decide: pay traffickers and leave or stay in apartheid-like conditions. (SOUNDBITE) (Rohingya) 59-YEARS OLD MUSLIM, BAR NUU, SAYING: "We are suffering a problem now as I had to sell my food ration. We cannot go to the health clinic as we don't have any money. We are suffering from everything." The crisis has sparked a debate in the region over what to do with the 1.1 million stateless Rohingyas. But so far, no one has the answer. In Malaysia, rights group Perkasa is standing up for the Rohingyas. Its president, Ibrahim Ali, says the Association of South East Asian Nations should expel Myanmar until its government ends discrimination. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF MALAY RIGHTS GROUP IBRAHIM ALI SAYING: "I would like to suggest that ASEAN convene the meeting as soon as possible. And if possible sack Myanmar from ASEAN country." Many Rohingyas have landed in temporary shelters, but with an estimated 5,000 migrants still at sea, those shelters could soon be overwhelmed.