News / Asia

Dozens of Rohingya Muslim 'Boat People' Escape Thai Prison

VOA News
Thai officials say dozens of Rohingya migrants from neighboring Burma have escaped from a detention facility where they were being held for illegally entering the country.

Police said Tuesday at least 86 Rohingya broke out of the facility in southern Sadao district. Media reports say they punched a hole through the ceiling and climbed out using a rope made of clothes. Officials say at least two have been rearrested.

Thailand is holding about 2,000 Rohingya "boat people" in immigration facilities across the country. The Rohingya have fled sectarian violence and government discrimination in Burma.

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights [APHR], an unofficial group made up of lawmakers from various Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has called on Thailand to give the UNHCR and the Red Cross access to the detention centers.

APHR Chairperson Eva Kusuma Sundari said, “I’m not surprised with this escape as the situation in the detention camps is inhumane."

She added that the Rohingya issue has become a regional problem that requires a regional solution, so ASEAN member countries should no longer insist this is an internal problem of Burma.

The Thai government originally said it was looking for other countries that would take the Rohingya. Recently, it has considered a plan to move the migrants to refugee camps along the border with Burma.

That plan was slammed Tuesday by Human Rights Watch, which called for Thailand to release the Rohingya from what it called "inhumane detention" and allow them to seek migrant worker status.

Phil Robertson, Asia Director of HRW, said, “HRW calls on the Thai government to release them and to provide them with refugee status, as well as allow legal, medical and other assistance from local and regional organizations."

The New York-based group says many of the immigration centers holding Rohingya are severely overcrowded and lack access to medical care and other basic services.

The group says Rohingya men are being held in small, cage-like cells, where they barely have enough room to sit.  It says some of the women are subject to sexual and other types of exploitation.

Thailand has intercepted many Rohingya boat people at sea, redirecting them to third countries such as Muslim-majority Malaysia or Indonesia.  Human Rights Watch says Thailand is failing to offer the migrants protections guaranteed under international norms.  

Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled Burma's western Arakan, or Rakhine, state, where violence broke out with majority Buddhists last year.

In addition to the violence, Rohingya also are denied citizenship and other basic rights in Burma where they are considered immigrants from Bangladesh. The United Nations considers them one of the world's most persecuted minority groups.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid