Monday, 26 August 2013

Rohingya Have Help From Officials to Escape, Media Told- The Rohingya issue media conference and round-table in Bangkok yesterday Photo by

The Rohingya issue media conference and round-table in Bangkok yesterday
The Rohingya issue media conference and round-table in Bangkok yesterday
Photo by

Rohingya Have Help From Officials to Escape, Media Told

By Chutima Sidasathian
Sunday, August 25, 2013
BANGKOK: Thailand should allow Rohingya to work freely rather than imprisoning them in atrocious conditions at detention centres, a media conference was told yesterday.

Speakers at the media conference endorsed the view that with migrant worker status, the Rohingya could be reunited with their families.

''Thailand would no longer be accused of human rights violations if the Government treated them with more compassion,'' said Surapong Kongchantuk of the
Human Rights Committee, Lawyers Council of Thailand.

Some Thai authorities were already so frustrated with the indefinite detention of Rohingya that they were assisting the boatpeople to escape.

''They could not break out by themselves,'' Khun Surapong said.

Men remained separated from women and children and there had been no real attempt to develop a workable policy that allowed captive Rohingya to be reunited as families, he added.

''The Thai government is prepared to talk face-to-face with the Burmese government about large economic projects but not to talk face-to-face about Burma resolving this issue,'' Khun Surapong said.

Sunai Phasuk, a Human Rights Watch advisor, said it was shameful that Burma was about to assume the chair of Asean in 2014, yet Asean had done nothing to solve the Rohingya issue.

''Why doesn't Asean force Burma to resolve this problem?'' he asked.

If allowed to live freely in Thailand, the Rohingya held captive since January could self-report to authorities periodically and would not be a drain on the Thai economy.

Muslim communites had said they were prepared to take responsibility for caring for the Rohingya.

Thailand's Navy, the Army, Isoc and Immigration did not treat the would-be refugees to standards required by international law, the conference heard.

Allegations that Thai citizens, police, Isoc, the Army, and Immigration officials had engaged in human trafficking should be independently investigated, the meeting was told.

In just a few weeks, thousands more Rohingya are expected to take to boats for the next ''sailing season'' with a resolution of the issue no closer.

Eight Rohingya men are reported to have died in custody in Thailand this year. Protests and escapes from Immigration centres, family welfare centres and police stations are expected to continue.

Saturday's media conference and round-table discussion was organised by the Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand.

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