Faces Of The Crisis
These migrants tell the Straits Times their stories of survival and heartbreak.
Buddhist-Muslim couple flee intimidation in Myanmar for a new life
He said we would go to Thailand on ship with 10 levels, and there would be three persons to every cabin.
When Mr Abdul Islam arrived at the port in Bangladesh, the "ship" was nothing like what the human smuggler who charged Mr Abdul 60,000 baht (S$2,350) had described.
There were nearly 600 people crammed into the three-tier boat, with just enough space for each passenger to sit on his haunches, with knees up to his chest.
Many passengers defecated where they sat, into any receptacle they could find. "I cried a lot," said Mr Abdul. "I thought that I would die before I arrived."
Mr Abdul is a Rohingya Muslim married to Ms Asimah, a Buddhist shopkeeper who lived in a village next to his in Myanmar.
In a region riven by ethnic and religious tension, their union was not just rare, but downright dangerous.
I threw bodies into the sea, says man who survived 21 days on boat
If every religion is included, I will go back, inshallah (God willing).
Mr Mohamad Rayas, 27, first fled to Bangladesh from Maungdaw in Myanmar to escape from indiscriminate arrests and beatings.
He then travelled on a fishing boat for 21 days with 178 other refugees and reached Thailand.
"The ocean not so good, rough seas. No sleeping on the boat, only 20 could sleep (at one time) and others pray for Allah to save our Rohingya," said Mr Rayas.
Thirty refugees died during the journey. Mr Rayas even assisted in throwing some of the bodies overboard.
Having to endure extreme hunger and the constant cries of others, he could not help but worry that he himself might not survive the ordeal.
Trapped in Indonesia refugee camp for years after failing to reach Australia
How much longer would we wait here? If they don't want to relocate us to another country, then they should let us be an Indonesian citizen.
Mr Abdul Rahim, 34, thought he had chosen the perfect time to plan his boat journey to Australia with his family about four years ago.
After five days at sea, their boat reached Australian waters. But the engine failed as they struggled to make their way closer to Christmas island. The boat was pushed back to Indonesia.
Since then, Mr Rahim and his family have lived in Surabaya in East Java province.
In Indonesia, the Rohingya are issued a UNHCR card and receive monthly stipends, but they are not allowed to work. And if they are married to a local, like Mr Abdul is, the right to this stipend is waived.
Still no hope in Myanmar's Rakhine state, say parents of refugees
There are no jobs here, there is nowhere to go. There is no education. So how can these people live here.
Mr Kyaw Hla Aung, 76, is a Rohingya Muslim leader. His house is between a Rohingya village and a camp for internally displaced Rohingya, in a vast area outside Sittwe guarded by police checkpoints.
He has seven children - five of them are abroad and they are not coming back.
One of his children, who lives in Thailand and who spoke to The Straits Times on condition of anonymity, tries to help other refugees and survives largely on donations and payment for translation work.
He has accepted that he may never go back to Sittwe - but he also has no desire to do so.
"We can't, it is difficult, the main problem is the government's policy. I think even the government does not know how to resolve it" he said.
Despite the perils, refugees will continue to take to the seas, but some countries such as Australia are turning the boats away. Read why.
Rohingya migration will continue in 2016 despite risks: Experts
There are from 800,000 to 1.2 million Rohingya, and you have to assume that a lot of those will come.
There have been fewer boat people taking to the sea from Myanmar's Rakhine state last winter - but it is difficult to be certain about the coming weeks.
Mr Mohiuddin Mohamad-Yusof, president of the New York-based World Rohingya Organisation, warned that "200,000 Rohingyas may leave Rakhine state in 2016".
Our South-east Asia bureaus speak to experts about what to expect this year as conditions ripen for more Rohingya migrant journeys across the Andaman Sea.
Australia stands firm on hardline policies against asylum seekers
We do have a tough border protection policy, you could say it's a harsh policy, but it has worked
Australia has adopted some of the world's toughest policies against migrants in recent years and will not relent despite criticisms over measures such as towing boats back to Indonesia and transferring all arrivals by sea to remote Pacific island detention centres.
The controversial approach has been aimed at preventing the flow of asylum seekers who attempt the risky voyage to Australia from transit camps in Indonesia.
In a heavy-handed approach that has damaged relations between Canberra and Jakarta, the federal government has warned that "any people smuggling boat... will be detected, intercepted and safely removed".
Read more about how Australia is handling its migration issues in this in-depth article.
Faces Of The Crisis
The Straits Times’ Foreign Desk traces a Syrian man's perilous flight to Germany. His story highlights the dangers a refugee faces. He walked, crawled under barbed wire, was left on a sinking boat with no help, caught by policemen in Macedonia and finally reached Germany with a fake Greek passport.
Syrian man faces death twice in journey to freedom
Even now, I think my life is in danger.
Mr Fadi Haddad, a 39-year-old father of three now lives in Frankfurt, Germany with his family.
But the journey here from conflict-torn Syria was far from easy. It involved seven attempts by sea, land and air.
At one point, he and other refugees were left on a sinking boat to fend for themselves. “I thought I would die, he said.”
Europe’s leaders have to slow down the immigration pressure not only to safeguard their own power, but also in order to preserve the EU. But there are not many real answers. Read why.
No good solution to Europe’s immigration crisis
Europe’s immigration problem is one which genuinely has no obvious solutions, an emergency which is only containable with partial answers.
Following Europe’s refugee crisis is similar to watching a train crash in slow motion: one can see in detail when the policy first went off the rails, everyone knows that the outcome would be a disaster, but nobody seems able to do anything about it.
Europe has experienced migratory pressures for decades, and usually responded by dealing with the symptoms, rather than its underlying causes.
Our Europe correspondent explains why the continent is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to dealing with its migrant crisis.