Rohingya Vision

Rohingyas cry for help as horror refugee limbo continues

A boat crammed with scores of Rohingyas, including many young children, was found drifting in Thai waters on Thursday. Photo: Christopher Archambault

Rohingyas cry for help as horror refugee limbo continues
May 15
04:40 2015

Bangkok: “Please help us,” came the cry from a people smuggler’s boat carrying hundreds of frail and distressed Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

“Please give me water.”

Ten people had died during a horror two-month voyage across the Bay of Bengal, they said, the bodies thrown into the sea.

Many on board the converted fishing trawler carrying men, women, children and babies, wept on Thursday as a boat carrying journalists including from the New York Times, came alongside.

But several hours after the Rohingyas were discovered adrift in the Andaman Sea 17 kilometres off a southern Thai island their boat turned away from Thailand, the fate of those on board now unknown in a spiralling humanitarian crisis in south-east Asian waters.

Malaysia has bluntly told thousands of Rohingya and Bangladesh migrants and asylum seekers stranded on boats in the Malacca Strait and Andaman Sea they cannot come ashore and Indonesia earlier in the week provided fuel and provisions for a boat carrying hundreds and sent them back to sea.

Royal Thai Navy Lieutenant commander Weerapong Nakpradit said six Thai fishing boats were told to give the Rohingyas food, water and medicine after they were discovered on Thursday.

He said those on board said the boat had engine problems and drifted into Thai waters but they wanted to go to Malaysia or Indonesia.

Journalists confirmed the boat people said they wanted to reach Malaysia, where more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees have been allowed to live among Malaysians in recent years.

Deputy Thai government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Thailand’s prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized power in a coup last year, had made it clear that if the Rohingyas wanted to make landfall his country was willing to provide humanitarian assistance but they must comply with legal procedures relating to migrants.

Thailand has been cracking down on human trafficking networks since mass graves of Rohingya were discovered in abandoned people smuggler’ camps near Thailand’s border with Malaysia.

Thai authorities are prosecuting almost 200 people for illegally entering the country. In the past people facing similar charges have languished in Thai jails for years.

Note:Changes have been made,Sydney Morning Hehald  is not responsible for these.

Source: Sydney Morning Hehald .                                                                                  





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