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  • Rohingya : rising evidence of genocide

    Rohingya: denied the right to be human
    Nancy Hudson-Rodd
    Nancy Hudson-Rodd PhD, a human geographer, has conducted over a decade of research on arbitrary land confiscation and other human rights abuses in Burma. She is an honorary research fellow at Edith Cowan University and a university associate at University of Tasmania.
    15 June 2014

    The Origins of TotalitarianismHuman Dignity (2011) are the most serious crimes against individual human dignity and the most serious crimes against the morality embedded in human rights, a total abrogation of human rights. The extreme will to deny humanity of a targeted group, genocide, grows out of ideologies and elaborate fantasies that congeal into revulsion and bottomless contempt for the persecuted group that result in their degradation.
    (28 April 2014). Conference participants and global citizens, including me, endorsed a global call to end Rohingya genocide.

    Genocide: A Critical Bibliographical Review (1991), a technology of denial developed by member states of the United Nations, has frequently been used to shield various favoured rights-abusing governments.

    Witnesses to the long standing serious injustice, systematic policies and acts of oppression, including UN member states, are complicit in the unfolding genocide of Rohingya. It is time to act. There should be an end to impunity.

  • #2
    Suffering in Rakhine 'the worst I've seen', says top UN official
    Thursday, 19 June 2014

    The United Nations assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs has said the suffering she witnessed last week in camps for internally displaced persons in Rakhine State was the worst she has seen.

    United Nations assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs Kyung-wha Kang (centre) in the Rakhine State capital, Sittwe, on June 11. The visit to Myanmar by Ms Kang, who is also the UN's deputy emergency relief coordinator, included trips to Kachin State and Nay Pyi Taw, where she meet senior government ministers.
    Photo: EPA/NYUNT WIN

    "I witnessed a level of human suffering in IDP camps that I have never personally seen before, with men, women and children living in appalling conditions with severe restrictions on their movement, both in camps and isolated villages," Ms Kyung-wha Kang told a news conference at the UN in New York on June 17.

    The news conference followed a four-day visit to Myanmar last week by Ms Kang, which also included a trip to Kachin State to visit an IDP camp there and meetings in Nay Pyi Taw with senior government ministers in Nay Pyi Taw.

    Ms Kang, who is also the UN's deputy emergency relief coordinator, said many residents of IDP camps in Rakhine had "wholly inadequate" access to basic services, including health, education, water and sanitation.

    "Two years into the crisis in Rakhine, hundreds of thousands of people continue to rely on humanitarian aid because they cannot rebuild their lives and livelihoods," she said.

    Ms Kang said the employees of humanitarian organisations in Rakhine were working under extremely difficult circumstances. "I was humbled by their commitment to stay and deliver," she said.

    "However, unless the Myanmar authorities ensure that the perpertrators of the attacks on UN and NGO premises [in the Rakhine capital, Sittwe] in late March are brought to justice, the safety and security of our staff will continue to be at risk."

    During her visit to Kachin State, Ms Kang visited an IDP camp in the state capital, Myitkyina, and met members of Myanmar non-government groups which she said were playing a key role in providing humanitarian aid to IDP camps in areas outside government control.

    "Access by international humanitarian organisations is improving through cross-line missions but aid agencies need regular, predictable and sustained access to all IDPs," Ms Kang said.

    "The priority for both the Government and the international community must be to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in the country, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender or class," she said.


    • #3
      'No Rohingya in Myanmar,' anti-human trafficking meeting told
      08 August 2014

      Comments at Thai meet illustrate limbo Rohingya find themselves in as they seek to improve their livelihoods.


      Muslim Rohingya living in camps in western Myanmar are being forced into the hands of traffickers as Myanmar authorities continue to refuse their right to citizenship, which would open the floor to discussion on their future in bilateral cooperation programs on trafficking with neighboring Thailand.

      "There are no Rohingya in Myanmar, but we do have a minority group coming from a neighboring country," Myanmar General Win Naing Tun told media this week.

      The head of the anti-human trafficking division with the Myanmar police was speaking at a bilateral meeting on the island of Phuket, in southern Thailand, between Thai and Myanmar police forces to fight human trafficking.

      Most Rohingya have been living in Rakhine state, in western Myanmar, for generations, although a small group have recently migrated from neighboring country Bangladesh.

      The Myanmar government refuses to grant them citizenship, saying they are all illegal immigrants. Tension between Rohingya and local Buddhists, known as Arakanese, has always been high, but boiled over in 2012 when several large clashes provoked the death of around 200 people and left 140,000 homeless.

      Since then, Rohingya have be confined to grim camps in Rakhine state. Many of them pay large amounts of money to traffickers to flee the country on cramped boats in hopes of finding work in Thailand, Malaysia or Australia. Many of those who arrive in southern Thailand become prey to others human traffickers and corrupt local officials.

      When pushed further on the Rohingya issue by reporters, General Win Naing Tun insisted they were not of any concern to his government and warned that "it was a sensitive issue which could affect the relations between the two countries."

      His Thai counterpart, General Pansak Kasemsant - assistant-commissioner general of the Thai police - expressed awareness from the Thai side that the Rohingya issue could not be discussed at the forum despite recognition that there was a problem to be taken care of.

      "We are supposed to return the refugees to their home countries, but with Rohingya we cannot do that [because Myanmar refuses to recognize Myanmar as their home country], so we have to relocate them in displacement shelters," he told local newspaper Phuket Gazette.

      Thousands of Rohingya are kept in camps in southern Thailand, with the support of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the International Office of Migrations, waiting for a third country to accept them.

      In June, Thailand was downgraded to the lowest level in the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons report - alongside countries such as Syria and Gambia.

      Since then, the Thai junta - which seized power on May 22 - has been trying to regulate migrant workers through the establishment of 43 registration centers throughout the Kingdom, asking all "illegals" to return to their home countries and go through a "national verification process" before coming back to Thailand where they can be registered as "legal" migrant workers. Because figures such as General Win Naing Tun refuse to recognize Myanmar as their home country, Rohingya are left in limbo in Thai camps.

      A document issued by the Myanmar embassy in Thailand and obtained by the Anadolu Agency stipulates that migrant workers will have to show "Myanmar ID and household registration" to pass the verification process.

      Myanmar ID cards are refused to Rohingya living in Myanmar, leaving Rohingya at the mercy of human trafficking networks and corrupt local officials as they seek a way out of their camps.


      • #4
        Rohingya Boatpeople Held in Pickups North of Phuket: Police Probe Human Trafficking Ring
        Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison
        Saturday, September 13, 2014

        A police patrol vessel among piers and mangroves near Kuraburi
        Photo by

        PHUKET: Police have arrested three Thais and apprehended 32 Rohingya boatpeople at a checkpoint north of Phuket with officers now investigating a human trafficking ring.

        The Superintendent of Kuaraburi Police Station, Colonel Veerasin Khwanseng, said today that all the people being held were in two pickups stopped about 11am yesterday at a checkpoint on the main road south from the Andaman coast fishing port.

        One of the pickups carried a Royal Thai Police Region One windscreen sticker, he said. Five more pickups, reported to also be heading for jungle camps in southern Thailand, eluded police.

        It is believed that the Rohingya who were apprehended yesterday came off two boats that are thought to have landed on the coast of Thailand several days ago.

        The maze of mangrove-enclosed islands along the coast off Ranong and Phang Nga provinces makes hiding a large number of people without detection relatively easy.

        The two pickups - one carrying Phuket numberplates - were pulled over as they headed south towards the holiday island.

        Held on suspicion of trafficking in the first vehicle were Kanong Oakdee, 49, and Jerapa Paramee, 32. Driving the second vehicle, which bore a police windscreen sticker, was Panmani Nunin, 39.

        It is believed their destination was further south in Songhla or Satun provinces, where human traffickers are known to maintain holding camps in plantations and jungle for Rohingya and Bangladeshi boatpeople.

        Traffickers usually demand 60,000 baht to smuggle each person into Malaysia and beat those who fail to succeed in imploring relatives or friends to pay the ransom.

        The first pickup pulled over yesterday contained a man and a woman in the cabin with eight Rohingya, and five more boatpeople in the pickup tray. In the second vehicle were a driver and 19 Rohingya.

        The Rohingya are being held at Kuraburi Police Station and will probably be handed over to Immigration authorities today. Questioning of the Thai suspects will go on.

        According to sources, the flow of Rohingya escaping violence and state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing in Burma's Rakhine state continues and is likely to increase as the monsoons end and the safer ''sailing season'' commences in October.

        It's considered improbable that large numbers of boatpeople could be travelling by sea then through southern Thailand without the knowledge or active assistance of outlaws in uniform.

        On December 26 last year, Phuketwan journalists interviewed Rohingya and Bangladeshis among a boatload of men, women and children apprehended near Kuraburi the previous day. Some of the men bore scars from recent beatings.

        The boatpeople claimed they were handed over to human traffickers by the Burmese Navy. The traffickers killed 12 people and abused others, the survivors said.

        Declaration of Interest: In July next year, Phuketwan journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian face trial over criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act charges brought by the Royal Thai Navy, citing a 41-word paragraph from a Pulitzer prize-winning Reuters report on the Rohingya boatpeople. Reuters and other news organisations in Thailand that published the same paragraph have not been charged. The charges were laid before the military takeover in Thailand.


        • #5
          Myanmar plans 'indefinite detention' for some Rohingya: HRW
          3 Oct 2014

          YANGON - Myanmar's plans to force stateless Rohingya to be identified as "Bengali" -- a term seen as disparaging -- for citizenship will leave those who refuse facing "indefinite detention" or deportation, Human Rights Watch has warned.

          Tears roll down the face of an ethnic Myanmar Rohingya refugee during a demonstration outside the United Nations (UN) offices in Kuala Lumpur on July 16, 2014

          The Rakhine Action Plan was touted by Myanmar's foreign minister as a major part of efforts to bring "harmony" to the conflict-torn western state in comments to the United Nations this week.

          But a draft document, seen by AFP, would see the state's around one million Muslim Rohingya forced to take on the label Bengali -- which many see as referring to the widely-held view that they are illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

          Those who refuse to comply and those without the requisite documentation to complete the citizenship process would be held in "temporary camps in required numbers", according to the document.

          The government would then attempt to "resettle the illegal aliens elsewhere", it said.

          HRW said this would amount to "arbitrary, indefinite detention with the possibility of deportation".

          Rakhine remains deeply scarred by two bouts of bloodshed in 2012 that left over 200 dead and some 140,000 homeless and trapped in miserable displacement camps.

          Deputy Asia director for HRW Phil Robertson said the Rakhine plans, which also outline resettlement of those in camps, were "nothing less than a blueprint for permanent segregation and statelessness that appears designed to strip the Rohingya of hope and force them to flee the country".

          Stateless Rohingya are viewed by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted peoples, with years of restrictions in Myanmar and Bangladesh, including curbs on movement and marriage.

          Myanmar's draft plan echoes controversial comments made by the country's quasi-civilian leader Thein Sein soon after the first wave of violence in June 2012, when he suggested refugee camps or deportation as a "solution" for the Rohingya.

          The new plan says all "Bengalis" should be assessed for their eligibility to become citizens between January 2015 and October 2016.

          Many people are thought to have lost official paperwork as they fled their homes as bloodshed and arson swept the state two years ago.

          Earlier this year Rakhine Muslims were largely missed out of a controversial census -- the first in three decades -- because of fears that allowing the group to self-identify as Rohingya would further inflame tensions with local Buddhists.

          Buddhist nationalists, accusing the international community of bias towards Muslims, attacked humanitarian offices just days before the census began, forcing aid workers to flee Rakhine.

          While many aid groups have returned, conditions in the camps remain dire, particularly for healthcare.


          • #6
            Ah, the two peace-loving Buddhist nations of Burma and Thailand . . . lovely


            • #7
              Arrested Rohingya North of Phuket Guarded by Volunteers in Thailand Human Trafficking Bust
              Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison
              Saturday, October 11, 2014

              PHUKET: A large group of trafficked boatpeople is being held by local authorities north of Phuket to protect them from local police and ensure their rights are upheld.

              According to one of the boatpeople who spoke in English by telephone to Phuketwan, the group of 53 had been among 310 men, women and children ''kidnapped'' by Thai brokers.

              At least 100 more Rohingya and Bangladeshis are still hidden on an island off the holiday coast of Thailand's Andaman region, north of Phuket, he said.

              Local officials have taken the apprehended boatpeople into custody and called in human rights lawyers because of concerns that the police will not recognise the boatpeople as asylum seekers and treat them instead as illegal migrants.

              The case is likely to bring to the attention of Thailand's government the continuing human trafficking off Thailand's coast as increasing numbers of Rohingya flee persecution in Burma, also known as Myanmar, where they are stateless and being subjected to ethnic cleansing.

              The group of 53 men was arrested today at 4am by the Director of the Takuapa district, Manit Paktean, and a team of volunteers. The men were waiting in bushes alongside the main road through the large coast township of Takuapa. Two men alleged to be traffickers fled when the authorities swooped.

              Others from the same trafficking boat had already been trucked south towards the border with Malaysia, the asylum seeker, aged 22, told Phuketwan.

              ''I fled from Cox's Bazaar (in Bangladesh) and there were 310 people on the boat,'' he said. ''We quickly realised we had been kidnapped and were going to be sold on. I was beaten on the boat and in the camp as well.''

              Many uninhabited islands dot the coast of the province of Phang Nga, north of Phuket, allowing human trafficking to flourish over the past few years as increasing numbers of Rohingya have fled. Locals and outlaw men in uniform are believed to have turned to trading in people as a highly profitable source of income.

              The asylum seeker told Phuketwan he had become desperate after a lifetime as an unwanted refugee in a Rohingya camp in Bangladesh. He left behind a one-year-old child, his wife and his mother.

              In a post on the man's Facebook page, he wrote: ''I ask you, Government of Burma says, 'This is not your land.'

              ''Government of Bangladesh says 'This is not your land. So I ask UNHCR [the UN refugee body] I ask Burma and Bangladesh, to please tell me, 'Where do I belong? Where is my house? Where can I go?

              ''I do not want to be a refugee any more. I just want to live in peace.''

              A campaign to drive Rohingya from their land in Burma's Rakhine state began with the torching of villages by their Buddhist neighbors in mid-2012. An increasing stream of men, women and children have been trafficked by sea and through secret jungle camps in southern Thailand since then.

              It's still a mystery as to how traffickers trading in so many thousands of people manage to evade all the authorities in Thailand. The country was relegated to Tier 3, the lowest level, in the US State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report this year.

              Concern continues to mount among human rights groups as Burma pursues an inhumane policy that fails to mask its campaign to obliterate all Rohingya.

              In the latest development, increasing numbers of men from Burma's Rohingya Muslim minority are being arrested and tortured because of alleged ties to a militant Islamic organisation, according to a rights group.

              The Rohingya have previously been accused of travelling south to join the violent insurgency movement in southern Thailand. Thai officials investigated and found that the boatpeople were genuine asylum seekers who were only interested in finding sanctuary in Malaysia.



              • #8

                At least 58 members of Muslim minority arrested for alleged links to Rohingya Solidarity Organization, human rights group says.


                • #9
                  Bunch of wankers . . . I thought only Muslim clerics could be 'extremists'. Obviously not, but this is a fact that will seriously disturb the local bigots


                  • #10
                    Thailand arrests 53 Rohingya migrants en route to Malaysia
                    Oct 11, 2014

                    BANGKOK(AFP) - Thai authorities on Saturday arrested 53 Rohingya migrants and two suspected Thai traffickers en route to neighbouring Malaysia, an official said.

                    The migrants were found on a rubber plantation in Takua Pa district in the southern coastal province of Phang Nga, district chief Manit Phianthong told AFP.

                    "We got a tip-off from an informant that a trafficking gang would be transporting Rohingya people to Malaysia," he said, adding that the migrants came from Myanmar's western Rakhine state and Bangladesh.

                    Thousands of Rohingya - a Muslim minority group not recognised as citizens in Myanmar - have fled deadly communal unrest in Rakhine since 2012, mostly heading for Malaysia.



                    • #11
                      Two Thais arrested for trafficking of Bangladeshis and RohingyaBANGKOK:


                      • #12
                        Torment of Rohingya in Thailand: New Report Documents Their Agony
                        Equal Rights Trust report excerpts
                        Saturday, October 18, 2014

                        Chutima Sidasathian interviews Rohingya in a police cell, January 2009
                        Photo by

                        Click a thumbnail to view more photographs

                        PHUKET: Perhaps the clearest and most thorough description of the trafficking of Rohingya and others through Thailand was released yesterday at a conference in Kuala Lumpur run by the London-based Equal Rights Trust and the Institute for Human Rights and Peace Studies Mahidol University, Bangkok (IHRP).

                        In a report entitled 'Equal Only in Name: the Human Rights of Stateless Rohingya in Thailand' the treatment of the Rohingya over the period since 2008 - as reported extensively by Phuketwan - is documented, along with much more.

                        Here are some edited excerpts. Potentially libelous statements have been removed.

                        Pushback, Detention and Deportation of Boat Migrants

                        As undocumented and stateless people, the Rohingya are compelled to cross international borders using illegal means. Measures taken by Thai authorities to deter such migration, including boat ''push-backs,'' detention and overland deportations, amount to violations of the right to liberty and security of the person and also impact on other rights including the right to life, freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, freedom of movement and the right to seek asylum.

                        An estimated 3,000 people made this boat trip during the 2006-2007 sailing season. This was followed by a sharp increase to approximately 6,000 in 2008-2009, when Thailand received international criticism for ''pushing back'' several boats out to sea. In addition to the fact that boats were ''pushed-back,'' some boats were stripped of their engines and the passengers were provided with only minimal food and water.

                        This was heavily criticised by the international community. Between December 2008 and January 2009, three push-backs occurred resulting in over 1,100 people being cast out to sea with little food and water and no working engines.

                        They eventually ended up in the Andaman Islands of India and in Idi Rayeuk and the Sabang Island of Indonesia; 300 were said to have died.

                        In the midst of international criticism over these push-backs, Thai authorities opted to detain 79 passengers (including 12 children) from a boat that arrived on January 26, 2009.

                        Upon arrival, the mixed group of 79 Rohingya and Bangladeshi boat passengers were jailed for a month before being transferred to the IDC in Ranong where two detainees aged 15 and 18 died in custody. In an urgent joint appeal related to this incident, four UN Special Rapporteurs and the Chairman of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stated that:

                        [I]n both cases, the rapid deterioration of their health may be due to the inadequacy and inefficiency of healthcare being provided to them during their detention period and particularly during the hours preceding their deaths.

                        The remaining detainees were eventually transferred to the IDC in Bangkok where they remained for two years. During this period, Bangladesh accepted the return of the Bangladesh nationals among the group. Finally, the remaining Rohingya were informally deported to Myanmar, across the border near Mae Sot, after which most made their way back to Thailand and on to Malaysia through the services of smuggling networks. Following is an account of one of the detainees:

                        We took a boat from Maungdaw; the boat started in Bangladesh. The engine broke while still in Burma's waters and we were beaten by the Burmese military for five days and then left floating. The Burmese Navy found us and towed us for one day and night towards Thai waters and left us floating.

                        The boat began to sink near Thailand, and we saw a group of Thai fisherman and asked for help. They towed us for 4-5 hours and then cut the tow rope.

                        We saw a plane and signalled to it; the plane notified Thai security and a Thai Navy boat came to tow us to shore. We had sailed for 28 days total, from Maungdaw to Thailand.

                        Everyone had serious injuries from being beaten by the Burmese Navy. The Thai Navy sent some of us to the hospital and some to the police.

                        Those without serious injuries were sent to the court and held in jail for 5 days, then back to the detention centre. Two people died in detention.

                        We were then transferred to Bangkok. Another person died in the IDC there. About thirty people were sent to Bangladesh after the Bangladeshi government accepted them.

                        We stayed in the IDC for two years. The food was regular but not good quality. We all slept in one big room. We could only exercise once every two weeks.

                        Some wanted to go to a third country, including me, and some wanted to be sent back to Burma. We were never informed about what would happen to us and never knew what was going on.

                        One day when we were taken outside for exercise we protested. We said they could kill us, but we wouldn't stay any longer. The IDC officers called senior level officials.

                        The senior officer, a new officer, said he didn't know about our case. He said they could release us in one month but we demanded sooner and finally agreed to two weeks.

                        We were released in three groups, one per week, and driven to Myawaddy and dropped off in Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) controlled territory.

                        Each person paid brokers in the DKBA 3,500 baht and they gave 500 to Thai immigration officers. The payment was to return to Mae Sot in Thailand.

                        After we paid we could go where we wanted. Some stayed in Mae Sot and most eventually went to Malaysia, some went to Khon Kaen, and three ended up in China.

                        I tried to go back to Burma with three others but we were caught and arrested and beaten by the Burmese military. They put us in jail for a night and then released us and told us never to come back or we would be killed.

                        We were taken by motorbike to near Myawaddy, then crossed the river and came back to Thailand.

                        Subsequent years have seen more boats arriving and varying policies related to ''push-back'' and land deportation being implemented.

                        In 2009 and 2010, only one boat was intercepted in Thai waters. In March 2010, this boat, carrying 93 people, was pushed back.

                        However, this time they were given food rations and eventually reached Malaysia. In January and February 2011, four boats were again intercepted in Thai waters.

                        After being detained a few days in Thailand, 91 passengers from one boat were forced onto another engineless boat, towed out to the high seas and set adrift. They were ultimately rescued in the Andaman Islands of India.

                        Another boat with 129 aboard had its engine disabled at sea by Thai authorities and drifted to Aceh in Indonesia. The other two boatloads of passengers were detained in Thai IDCs and were informally deported in Ranong in August 2011.

                        A Thai official stated that:

                        Although it's against humanitarian grounds, the illegal entry of foreigners must come under the (Thai) legal framework. This is to prevent a similar problem from occurring again in future.

                        Subsequently, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concern over push-backs [Phuketwan deletion] and urged the government to prevent any further expulsion of Rohingya asylum seekers.

                        As a new sailing season started in late September 2011, the Thai government started implementing a ''help on'' policy. Officially this policy involved providing some humanitarian assistance to boats intercepted in Thai waters and allowing them to continue to their destination (Malaysia).

                        However, in reality, many intercepted boats were brought ashore by Thai authorities and immediately transferred to smugglers working in collusion with them for transportation across land borders.

                        By March 2012, the number of recorded boat arrivals had increased again. Reportedly, 2,490 boat people were arrested near Ranong and Phang Nga and another 2,552 people in 25 boats were ''helped on'' to destinations outside of Thailand.

                        In reality, those boats were not ''helped on'' in the sea, but the people on them were handed over to brokers to transport them across land to Malaysia, during which process they were detained in jungle camps along the Thailand-Malaysia border.

                        Those arrested were informally deported through land crossings to Myanmar, where they could pay brokers to be taken to Malaysia through the same overland process.

                        On February 7, 2013, the Thai government reported that 5,899 Rohingya had arrived since October 2012, but many more are believed to have boarded boats to Thailand from Bangladesh and Myanmar during this time.

                        Over the course of 2013 and early 2014, there have been noticeable changes in the demographics of new Rohingya arrivals, with increasing numbers of women and children now making the journey.

                        It is estimated that women and children make up between 5 to 15 percent of passengers overall. This includes a growing number of unaccompanied minors.

                        Although reasons for this change are numerous, it is likely to have been influenced by the increasing violence in Rakhine state, resulting in women leaving to reunite with their husbands already in Malaysia.

                        Additionally, there have been a number of women and a smaller number of child brides who have arrived by boat through Thailand to enter into marriages arranged by their parents or future husbands, with the latter often paying for their journey to Malaysia.

                        With the increasing number of women making this journey, there have been reports of incidences of rape on board these vessels.

                        On 10 and 11 January 2013, Thai security forces conducted raids in at least three brokers' camps and warehouses, and arrested about 1,000 Rohingya detained there by smugglers.

                        At the same time, Thai authorities intercepted all new boats found in Thai waters and arrested another 1,000 individuals. These 2,000 arrestees were then detained in various IDCs and shelters across Thailand.

                        On 28 January 2013, the Thai government declared that the 2,000 detainees would be allowed to remain in Thailand (in detention) for six months and also that no new boats would be allowed in from that day.

                        In February 2013, boats continued to enter Thai waters and were immediately pushed back: 11 boats ended up in Malaysia where they were intercepted by Malaysian Maritime Marine Agency, two were ultimately rescued in Sri Lanka (after 98 died aboard of starvation) and at least one landed in Aceh.

                        As the push-backs became an international issue, overland transfer to brokers' camps on Thai mainland had restarted by late February 2013.

                        Conditions in government-run shelters housing women and children have been found to be reasonably satisfactory, with outdoor spaces and enough room to move around.

                        However, conditions in IDCs housing men are much worse. Reports from one such centre in Phang Nga have shown 276 men, crammed in two cage-like cells designed to hold only 15 people.

                        The detainees claimed that during a period of five months of detention, they had not been let outside. Eight Rohingya died of health-related problems due to detention conditions.

                        The separation of all men from women and children has resulted in families struggling with greater uncertainty about their future.

                        From the perspective of the Thai officials, they are obligated to arrest and detain the Rohingya under the current Immigration Law.

                        Given the obligation to not refoule Rohingya to Myanmar where they are vulnerable to persecution, irrespective of the likely refusal of Myanmar to accept Rohingya returnees, and given the alternative prospect of detention in Thailand, it is likely that some Thai officials feel that the most humane course of action is to unofficially allow Rohingya to travel onto Malaysia, whereas others may financially benefit from the process.

                        However, as the testimonies in this report indicate, in addition to being a violation of international law, such informal solutions add to the vulnerability of Rohingya refugees and place them directly in the hands of human smugglers, where their situation may, in some cases, evolve into human trafficking.

                        The conundrum for Thai authorities noted above highlights the failure of the Thai legal framework, which does not adequately protect refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons in a migration context and does not provide a viable alternative to the prolonged detention of Rohingya in Thailand.

                        The prosecution-focused anti-trafficking framework has not been effectively implemented. In particular, the elements that should protect victims of trafficking, who may also be refugees, are not applied in the situation relating to fleeing Rohingya.

                        This highlights the need for a strong regional protection based solution for the Rohingya.

                        As described above, the smuggling of Rohingya boat migrants across the Thailand-Malaysia land border, often involving cooperation between Thai authorities and smugglers, occurred frequently during the 2012-2013 sailing season.

                        While such practices are likely to have been happening prior to 2012, the media spotlight on the situation after 2012 has resulted in increased reporting of it.

                        Such practices result in various human rights violations, including of the right to liberty and security of the person, the right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the right to seek asylum, the right to freedom of movement, and the right to life on both sides of the border, as the following account indicates:

                        After we landed in Thailand, we were brought to the jungle. I stayed in a big hut for five days. People told me ''this is Thailand''. Otherwise, I would not have known where I was.

                        I think I stayed with Thai people. When I told them that I could not pay money to them, they sent me to a place in Malaysia. In Thailand they didn't beat me. But I did not have enough food - only one meal per day.

                        On my third day in Malaysia, they started to beat me. They beat me every morning and every night.

                        They used a big stick and kicked me with boots. [He shows the scars on his back and ankles]. I was there for eight days in total. One time they pushed me. I fell to the floor.

                        They dragged me because I could not contact a relative in Malaysia to pay for the trip. I fell unconscious. I don't know exactly what happened. That is where the scars on my face came from. I also got a big cut in my head. Now I have stitches in it.

                        One man took me to the clinic. I don't know who he was. I think he was a Malay man, but I don't know if he was one of the guards or another person. After they stitched it, the same man took me back to the place in the jungle.

                        That place in the jungle had a zinc fence around it to stop us from leaving. The guards had pistols. There were four of them minding the camp. They had big boots to kick us with and sticks to beat us. There were about 20-30 of us.

                        We were all Rohingya. [When asked how he got out, his relative takes over explaining]

                        Relative: I received a phone call from a Malay man. He told me, ''your relative is already dead. You have to come and pick up his body,'' so I went to Tanah Merah. From there I was taken into the jungle. I was told I have to pay 5500 RM. Then I brought him back with me to KL. I don't know why the traffickers told me he was dead.

                        It is a big problem for me. I had to borrow money from friends to pay the brokers. The brokers wait for maximum 4-5 days to get their money. We worry that if people cannot pay, they will send them to the fishing boats in Thailand to work. I had to pay for the other brother too.

                        They don't have any other relatives. I don't know what to do about the third brother. They called me from Thailand just yesterday and told me I need to pay money for him too.

                        Deportation back to Myanmar (from where Rohingya are smuggled/trafficked to Malaysia), whether as a result of a judicial process or not, violates the principle of non-refoulement. In addition, many Rohingya who have been pushed to sea have faced threats to their right to life.

                        Smuggling and Trafficking of New Boat Arrivals

                        Thailand has long been a source, destination, and transit country for victims of trafficking who are commonly exploited by the sex industry, the commercial fishing industry, plantations, low-end garment production factories and as domestic workers.

                        The Malaysia-Thailand border has been a hot-spot for smuggling and trafficking in both directions, and the Rohingya have been subject to both practices. In 2009, the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations reported that ''a few thousand'' migrants from Myanmar, including Rohingya, had been taken from detention centres in Malaysia to southern Thailand and forced to pay smuggling fees to return to Malaysia or be sold to Thai fishing boats as bonded laborers.

                        Based on testimonies of those among the nearly 800 Rohingya discovered during Thai government raids on smuggling camps in Songkhla province near the Thailand-Malaysia border, it is evident that some Rohingya may have been transported through Thailand for the purpose of exploitation - most notably those who end up in forced labor or slavery-like situations - and thus, would fit the international definition of trafficked persons.

                        The full report is available at

                        Declaration of Interest: In July next year, Phuketwan journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian face a continuing trial over criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act charges brought by the Royal Thai Navy, citing a 41-word paragraph from a Pulitzer prize-winning Reuters report on the Rohingya boatpeople. Reuters and other news organisations in Thailand that published the same paragraph have not been charged. The charges were laid before the military takeover in Thailand.



                        • #13
                          Terrified victims of Thai trafficking face uncertain future
                          Jonathan Head
                          18 October 2014

                          The trafficked men survived for 10 days eating leaves

                          For at least five years, the Andaman cost of Thailand has been the scene of some horrific abuses, mainly against ethnic Rohingyas, a Muslim minority group fleeing persecution in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

                          In 2009, the Thai Navy was found to be towing boats packed with Rohingyas out to sea, and leaving them to drift. Hundreds are believed to have died.

                          More recently Thai police and military personnel have been accused of selling Rohingyas who washed up on Thailand's shores to human traffickers.

                          These abuses are in part what caused Thailand to be downgraded to the lowest rank in the annual US report on human trafficking.

                          Successive Thai governments have promised to stamp out this scourge.

                          But the recent discovery of 171 mainly Bangladeshi men being held captive in jungle camps shows how much still needs to be done.

                          What started as opportunistic exploitation of Rohingyas appears to have mutated into an organised slave trade.

                          Repeated beatings

                          Eighty-one of the men are now being sheltered in a local government hall in the town of Takua Pa. They sit there listlessly, some nursing ugly wounds inflicted by their captors.

                          At times, tears slide down their faces as they recall their ordeal, and think of homes and families in Bangladesh. They all tell very similar stories.

                          Absar Mia (C) hopes to return to his family in Bangladesh after his rescue from traffickers

                          Ayub, another Bangladeshi trafficking victim, was threatened with death by his captors Tracked down

                          That they were rescued from their captors is due to the determination of local district chief, Manit Pianthiong. A 28-year veteran of the area, who got the chief's job nine months ago, he is all too familiar with the human trafficking which goes on along the indented coastline of Takua Pa.

                          Manit Pianthiong, Takua Pa's local district chief, is determined to end trafficking

                          Mr Pianthiong says he is trying to curb all forms of smuggling, but he is focusing in particular on the human trade, which he says is damaging the image of the entire country.

                          He encourages people in fishing communities along the coast to alert him to any signs of large groups of people being held. That is how he heard about these three groups of mainly Bangladeshi men, and a few Rohingyas.

                          The first group of 37 was found last month. Then, on 11 October, his men tracked down another group of 53.

                          The last group, of 81, was surrounded in a forest camp near the road on 13 October. They had been driven by their guards from one camp to another in an attempt to evade the authorities. Mr Pianthiong believes many more were not rescued, and may have been sold.

                          Two of the guards have now been detained. One of them was identified by the Bangladeshis as the most brutal of their captors, a man they called Keke.

                          Whether this man, and his bosses, are brought to justice, depends on the government in Bangkok.

                          Illegal immigrants

                          Mr Pianthiong said he wants to go after the trafficking kingpins in the region, people with powerful connections. But that would require him to get much stronger backing, and so far that is not happening.

                          All that remains of the traffickers' camp, the gang leaders remain at large

                          Senior figures in the police and the social welfare ministry are resisting his efforts to have all the Bangladeshi men classified as victims of trafficking.

                          The second group of 53 has already been given that status, which gives them proper support and shelter, and would allow them to go back to Bangladesh quickly.

                          However, the police are talking about reversing that decision. Instead, they want then to be jailed as illegal immigrants.

                          It is difficult to know why they want this outcome, for people who have all the appearance of victims.

                          Perhaps it is to avoid having to admit that trafficking continues in Thailand. Perhaps it is because they are reluctant to go after the trafficking kingpins.

                          The result, though, could be disastrous for the Bangladeshis. People have been known to be stuck in Thai immigration prisons for many years. In the case of Rohingyas, some were actually sold back to human traffickers.

                          How Thailand handles the case of these men will surely be a test of its declared willingness to turn its back on a shameful record of trafficking, and take meaningful action to end the trade in people.



                          • #14
                            However, the police are talking about reversing that decision. Instead, they want then to be jailed as illegal immigrants.

                            It is difficult to know why they want this outcome, for people who have all the appearance of victims.

                            Perhaps it is to avoid having to admit that trafficking continues in Thailand. Perhaps it is because they are reluctant to go after the trafficking kingpins.

                            The RTP shine again


                            • #15
                              Because they are helpless . . . at least the Cambos and Buddhist Burmese have a semblance of government protection


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