Category Archives: Rohingya_inhuman treatment by Thailand
PHUKET – Police are looking for 30 Rohingya migrants who are still missing after they and six others escaped from the detention centre in this southern province on Sunday.
They fled from the central Phuket immigration office at 3am and only six have been recaptured by immigration authorities, police said.
The authorities were tight-lipped after the Rohingya, detained on charges of illegally entering the country, escaped, but reports were later confirmed by Phuket governor Maitree Inthusut, who ordered tightened security at the centre in Muang district.
Mr Maitree suspected that they were frustrated at being detained for so long at the centre. The group had been detained there since March.
Pol Maj Gen Chote Chawalwiwa, chief of Phuket police, alerted all police stations, public transport operators, local media and the public to keep an eye out for the escaped migrants. He said it was feared they would commit crimes and damage the image of the resort island.
It was the second escape of Muslim asylum seekers in Thailand in three days.
On Friday, 30 Rohingya detained in Sadao district of Songkhla province escaped from a police jail cell.
More than 1,700 asylum seekers from Myanmar who arrived in Thailand by boat early this year are being held in crowded detention centres, most of them in southern provinces.
By Achadtaya Chuenniran
Published on 11 August 2013
30 Muslim Rohingya escape police jail cell in Thailand after being moved from crowded prison, Washington Post
BANGKOK — Thirty Muslim Rohingya asylum seekers from Myanmar detained in southern Thailand for illegally entering the country escaped from a police jail cell on Friday, 10 days after they were moved from a crowded detention center, police said.
More than 1,700 asylum seekers from Myanmar’s beleaguered Rohingya minority who arrived in Thailand by boat early this year are being held in crowded prisons. The 30 who escaped are among hundreds who protested last month against the cramped conditions.
The men used blades to cut the cell’s bars and used ropes made of clothes to escape from the Sadao district police station in Songkhla province early Friday, Police Maj. Gen. Suwit Choensiri said.
He said police found the cell empty when they brought up food and water.
“These men had been making noise and sang loudly every night since they got here. We suspect they were trying to drown out the noise from cutting the bars,” Suwit said by telephone.
Thailand’s government initially said the asylum seekers could stay in the country for six months, but extended the deadline indefinitely. Human rights activists have called for authorities not to deport the Rohingya back to Myanmar, where they face widespread discrimination.
“Not only were (the escapees) stressed out because they lacked space, but also they were frustrated about the situation as they have no idea about their future,” Suwit said. “If found, they won’t face charges for escaping, but we will have to be more careful now.”
He said police were checking closed circuit television footage to trace the men.
Sectarian violence in Myanmar involving the Rohingya has left hundreds dead and many more homeless since last year. Most of the homeless have elected to travel to other countries.
Early this year, Thai authorities conducted several raids in the southern provinces and detained hundreds of Rohingya refugees.
By Associated Press
Published on 9 August 2013
Some 260 Rohingya refugees who have been held captive for almost seven months tried yesterday to break out of the Phang Nga Immigration Centre to celebrate the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
The riot began at about 9am when some inmates tore down the doors separating three detention cells.
They reportedly shouted and stormed the main gate to get out of the building. A team of about 300 officers rushed in to control the situation.
Negotiators including a religious leader and representatives of human-rights groups were sent in to calm them down but the detainees insisted on joining the Hari Raya Eid-al-Fitri celebration outside.
Pol Maj-General Chalit Kaewyarat, provincial police chief, said the men were upset that they were not allow to celebrate outside and since the facility was short on staff, some Rohingya incited a mob to press their demands.
Authorities managed to disperse the rally at about 3pm. The protesters were divided into small groups to be sent to police stations in Phang Nga province.
Last month, 18 Rohingya escaped from the Phang Nga Shelter for Children and Families and five were recaptured in Chumphon.
From January 14 to March 26, Phang Nga has apprehended 953 Rohingya boat people who had fled their restive state in Myanmar to seek a new start in Malaysia and Indonesia. The Immigration Centre took custody of 261 Rohingya while the Shelter for Children and Families accommodated 43 Rohingya.
By Anothai Ngandee
Published on 9 August 2013
PHUKET: Human Rights Watch is calling on the Government of Thailand to reveal the whereabouts of a boatload of would-be refugees and explain the Army’s role in the unconventional apprehension and detention of the group.The 92 Rohingya waded ashore on the Thai mainland north of Phuket on Thursday and were last seen being trucked to an unknown destination. Locals were told the men and boys were headed for an Army base.
The deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, Phil Roberson, said yesterday evening: ”We are concerned by these reports and we would like the Government to clearly explain where these people are and what they plan to do with them.”
It was a ”worrisome development” to have the detention of illegal arrivals in Thailand once again removed from the Immigration authorities who usually handle such matters, he said.
Fresh questions about Thailand’s policy towards the Rohingya boatpeople are being raised as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares for a history-making visit to Burma, where the Muslim minority is deprived of citizenship and driven to pay people traffickers to escape by sea.
While the Burmese government wants to chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2014 and has recently shown limited but encouraging signs of reform, its most repugnant policy, under which the Rohingya are denied every basic human right, remains in place.
Burma’s denial of Rohingya rights leaves the whole region without a hope of resolving the Rohingya boatpeople issue. Thousands are expected to put to sea between now and April, aiming for neighboring countries, to try to flee Burma’s repression.
In 2008-2009, after almost 5000 boatpeople arrived in a single ”sailing season”, Thailand took the covert and drastic measure of towing unwanted Rohingya out to sea and cutting them adrift.
Hundreds drowned before survivors arrived in Indonesia and India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands, as Phuketwan and the South China Morning Post newspaper in Hong Kong were the first to reveal.
The concern of Human Rights Watch and other international bodies is that the disappearance of the latest batch of unwanted arrivals is a ghastly reminder of that tragic failed policy.
”Thailand needs to produce these people,” Mr Robertson said. ”Trucking them off into the distance is no answer to this problem.”
There was a whole list of questions about the unexplained detention of the group that needed to be answered to ensure Thailand was meeting its human rights obligations, he said.
The absence of information from the Thai Government was cause for ”very serious concern.”
The latest Rohingya arrivals scuttled their rickety vessel on Thursday and waded ashore near the port of Kuraburi, in Phang Nga province, north of the international holiday island of Phuket.
Local authorities were told the men and boys would be handed to the Army, which has a base in the province of Ranong, further north on the border with Burma.
It was on a small, uninhabited island off the coast near the Army base that Rohingya were first secretly detained in 2009, then towed out to sea and cut adrift.
After that reprehensible treatment was revealed, boatloads were again handed over in the conventional manner to Thai Immigration officials. Immigration detained groups who landed on Phuket and south of Phuket earlier this year.
Because the Rohingya do not have citizenship, they cannot be officially returned to Burma. It is believed groups apprehended in Thailand earlier this year have been surreptitiously returned to the people traffickers.
By Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian
Published on November 29, 2011
BANGKOK (AlertNet) – Rights groups have urged Thailand to investigate claims that its navy pushed a group of “boat people” from Myanmar’s embattled Rohingya minority back out to sea in rickety vessels, two years after similar allegations surfaced.
The groups also called on Indonesia and India to protect Rohingyas who fled by sea to the nearby countries in recent weeks.
The Rohingyas are a Muslim minority from Rakhine State in the west of predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. Rights groups say they suffer much abuse and are denied free movement, education and employment by the military junta. They are also denied citizenship.
A group of 91 Rohingyas with little food and water landed in India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands in early February in what the BBC said was an engineless boat. The group told Indian police they had been set adrift by the Thai navy.
The Thai Foreign Ministry has denied this and said it deported a group of 91 Rohingyas (who reached Thailand in January) at the Thai-Myanmar border crossing in Ranong province in southern Thailand “which was in line with their wish”.
Kitty McKinsey, a spokeswoman for the United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, told AlertNet:
“Based on the information we have now it seems likely that the 91 who are in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the same 91 who were intercepted in Thailand on 22nd January.”
“We don’t know exactly [how] they would’ve gotten from Thailand to the Nicobar Islands.”
Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are calling for Thailand to investigate the case.
“Thailand’s blanket denial that 91 Rohingya deportees were pushed back to sea fails to explain their arrival in the Andaman and Nicobar islands,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
“The Thai government should promptly and impartially investigate which officials were responsible for towing migrants out to sea and cutting them loose.”
ANOTHER GROUP FOUND DRIFTING OFF ACEH
Last week, Indonesian fishermen found another 129 Rohingyas drifting in a boat off the coast of Aceh. Like the group in Andaman and Nicobar islands, they were said to be starving and severely dehydrated when found.
They have been at sea for about three weeks, according to Indonesian officials.
In a statement, Amnesty International asked Thailand, India and Indonesia to act on “their obligations under international human rights and customary international law” including helping determine if they qualify for refugee status.
In a similar incident two years ago, the Thai navy was accused of towing 992 Rohingya boat people to sea before abandoning them to their fate with little food or water in boats without engines. Many were found off the coast of Indonesia but hundreds were feared to have died. Thailand promised to investigate but said the results were inconclusive.
“The situation of the Rohingyas would be concerning enough just considering their persecution in Myanmar and their precarious state on the high seas,” Benjamin Zawacki, Amnesty’s researcher for southeast Asia, told AlertNet.
“When factoring in what happened to them at the hands of Thai authorities in late 2008 and early 2009 — and that similar unlawful and inhuman treatment is being alleged again — their situation is even more alarming. The problem is rooted in Myanmar but implicates the region, but two years on we’re no closer to accountability or a solution.”
Rights groups say thousands of Rohingyas flee Myanmar for Malaysia and Bangladesh each year. Malaysia is home to 85,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Myanmar although it is unknown how many are Rohingyas.
Aid groups estimate over 300,000 Rohingyas live in Bangladesh, mostly in horrendous conditions at makeshift camps, living in mud huts covered in plastic sheets and tree branches.
Thailand has around 150,000 refugees, mainly from eastern Myanmar, in nine camps along the Thai-Myanmar border.