News / Asia

Thailand to Deport Rohingya Muslim Asylum Seekers

VOA News
Thai authorities say Rohingya Muslim refugees allegedly fleeing sectarian violence and persecution in western Burma must be sent back to their homeland.

The 73 migrants, including women and children, were found drifiting in a small, overcrowded boat off the Thai resort town of Phuket, well short of their final destination of Malaysia.

Thai authorities intercepted the boat, which had been at sea for 13 days, and provided the refugees with food and supplies on Tuesday. But local media reported Wednesday they have been arrested and ordered to return to Burma by land.

Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, says that Thailand should suspend any plan to deport the refugees until the United Nations refugee agency has a chance to determine whether they have legitimate claims for protection.

He says Thai authorities, who are reluctant to absorb migrant workers from neighboring countries, must come up with a better policy for dealing with boat people.

"For the first time, Thai authorities have intercepted a boat, filled up not with young Rohingya men seeking work in Malaysia, but families with young children and women," Sunai said. "They are traveling together claiming they are escaping persecution, human rights violations, and violence in their homeland."

Thai authorities do not accept boat people, but instead give them supplies to continue their often dangerous journeys to their final destination.

The result is often deadly. In 2008 and 2009, hundreds of Muslim Rohingya refugees are believed to have died after being turned away by Thailand.

Sunai says the problem is not going away, and that Thailand and other Southeast Asian nations must come up with a new policy to provide protection in coordination with U.N. agencies.

"We want Thailand to come up with a clear policy that recognizes Thailand's international obligations to protect asylum seekers and refugees," he said. "And in this case it is very clear that political violence, communal conflicts and human rights violations in Burma's Arakan state are getting worse and worse, and we expect there will be more Rohingya families traveling by sea in order to seek refuge in Southeast Asia."

The latest group of asylum seekers say there were headed for Malaysia, which has become a common destination for Rohingya refugees. On Sunday, about 450 Rohingya landed in Malaysia after a boat journey that left one person dead.

Rohingya are fleeing Burma's western Rakhine, or Arakan, state, where an outbreak of violence in recent months has killed dozens and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Rights groups accuse Burma's government of systematic persecution against members of the ethnic group, who are considered to be illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Haji:Mohammed Hassan from: ipoh perak,Malaysia
January 03, 2013 10:37 AM
This peoples are from arakan state of Myanmer{origin of Rohingya)
May be some body mixed from Bangla desh.Exsurely many many Bangla deshi coming to Malaysia by boat and they say they are Rohingya too.therefore we are requeisting to UNHCR Please select them befoure do anything.They bangla peoples selling name of Rohingya.if they peoples are from arakan(Rohingya) so please safe them on humanitarian ground.

by: Nguyen Tan Lon from: Hanoi
January 02, 2013 3:17 PM
The cruel countries on earth Thailand and Burma. Why you all have no mercy to let the Rohingya survive as Human Beings? You all from Thailand and Burma always claim as Buddhists but your mind is wicked=Mara.

by: lstmohican from: USA
January 02, 2013 8:25 AM
The neighboring country west of Rakhine state in Myanmar is Bangladesh, an Islamic country less than the size of Iowa but with a population of 160 million. During 1970 and 1971 Bangladesh independence war, the Pakistan army and their sympathizers committed genocide resulting in 10 million Bangladeshis seeking refuge in neighboring countries including Rakhine state with a population of 3 million. As far back as 1975, the then Bangladesh Ambassador to Myanmar Khwaja Mohammed Kaiser admitted that "there were upward of 1/2 million Bangalee (Bangladeshi) trespassers in Arakan (Rakhine state) whom the Burmese (Myanmar) had some right to eject.

He had implored the Burmese authorities not to press this issue during Bangladesh's present troubles [COUP of August and November 1975] and had been pleased that the Burmese had not taken advantage of his country's misfortune in this respect.” Recently, Bangladeshi, CNN and other news media have published numerous reports of Bengalis from Bangladesh illegally migrating eastwards by sea and land. Refer to CNN report of Nov 1, 2012, Khabar South Asia of Dec 24, 2012 and UNBConnect of Dec 27, 2012. Once they cross the border, they identify themselves as Rohingya to gain international sympathy and unquestioning acceptance by the media. The Government of Bangladesh has identified over 70 different Islamic terrorists groups including Islamic Rohingya Terrorists. In addition, approximately 12 to 17 million Bangladeshi immigrants have come to India illegally since the 1950s.

by: D Johnston from: Thailand
January 02, 2013 7:19 AM
These people really should be returned to Bangladesh as it is their true homeland.
In Response

by: Moh from: Uk
January 10, 2013 5:39 PM
Humans relocated to have a better life .....u people should return to u paradise .....when u found in any country other than u shit ass smelly county.
In Response

by: helena from: melbourne
January 03, 2013 7:31 AM
sorry i reported a comment and i meant to post one sorry please disregard. my point was that as these poeple are aubviously economic migrants en route to Australia through malaysia they should be turned back at the first instance it is well recognised by all of the relif agencies that the people who are most in need of refugee status are so poor they could never afford to pay the people traffickers.... they live meal to meal and day to day.. it is ofetn people with some means and status that can afford these large sums.. good on Thialand turn them back..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs