22nd January 2009
END HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS TOWARDS STATELESS ROHINGYA REFUGEES BY THAI GOVERNMENT.
In the midst of the humanitarian crisis and human rights violations in Gaza, the international community was shocked to hear another human rights violations committed by the Thai authorities towards the boat people from Rohingya ethnic minority in Burma.
More than 400 Rohingyas arrived in Thai coast in late December 2008. All of them were arrested by the Thai navy and detained for few weeks before they were push back into the high sea without enough food and water. They were tied up and put into 6 boats without engine and left to drift. It was reported that they were beaten up by the Thai authority. Hundreds of them were missing and some had died. On the other hand, India’s coast guard rescued 446 boat people mainly Rohingyas who stranded in Andaman Island.
The Rohingyas were denied citizenship and made stateless by the military junta. They were forced to leave the country as there was an increase human rights violations and prosecution by the military junta towards ethnic Rohingya in Arakan State (Rakhine State). They had to seek protection in the neighboring countries especially in Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
The recent report published by the Refugee International, an advocacy group based in Washington and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), based in United Kingdom clearly reveals that human rights violations towards ethnic Rohingya in Arakan State are very serious and intense.
While Thai government denied the allegation, the photographs taken support the charges. There were photographs of the boat people lying down on beach with their hands trussed above their heads, their hands were tied, Thai official step on their bodies, they were forced to remove their shirt under the hot sun, and they were guided by the Thai authority with gun.
The act of the Thai authority was condemned by the Burmese people in Malaysia. All Burma Democratic Force (ABDF) held protest at Thai Embassy and Bangladesh High Commission on 14th January 2009. A Memorandum was submitted to both parties with strong recommendations.
This is not the first time Thai government had ill treated the Rohingya refugees who flee from prosecution of military junta. In March 2008, former Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Samak Sundaravej announced to send Rohingyas to an Isolated Island. The Rohingyas community in Malaysia condemned the decision and held a protest at the Thai Embassy and submitted a Memorandum with strong recommendations.
We cannot believe that the Thai government can go beyond humanity as Thais are well known with their kindness and hospitality to others. Thailand is a democracy country unlike Burma. Therefore, Thai government should have a better record of human rights compare to Burma military junta.
We will continue to see the increase number of the boat people from inside Burma until and unless the world leaders take serious actions in dealing with the military junta.
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) condemned the harsh act of the Thai government and we strongly urge:
The Thai government, National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, UNHCR and the Human Rights Organizations to investigate the plight of the Rohingyas boat people. Thorough documentation must be conducted and interpreter must be provided to ensure accurate information
The Thai government must not deport the Rohingyas boat people back to Burma as they will be prosecuted by the military junta. Thai government must render immediate protection to stateless Rohingya refugees under the International Law and refer them to the UNHCR for documentation process
The UNHCR to protect Rohingya refugees in Thailand and dialog with the Resettlement countries to resettle Rohingya refugees
The UN Security Council, ASEAN countries and International Community to address gross human rights violations in Burma seriously and restore Democracy in Burma
Finally, we thank the Indian authority who rescued the Rohingyas boat people and gave immediate assistance to save their lives.
General Secretary of Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)
before releasing secretly into international water by Thai-forces
(you can guess how Thai-forces treat behind this)