Rohingya Vision

Fears of ‘more suffering’ for Rohingya after monsoon season

Fears of ‘more suffering’ for Rohingya after monsoon season
July 07
11:20 2015

PHANG NGA, Thailand: Thai authorities have arrested 65 suspects out of 119 wanted for human trafficking of Rohingyas since May, but experts warned that more needs to be done to stamp out the trafficking network responsible for the “death camps” discovered in southern Thailand and Malaysia.

A Thai police officer who works in southern Thailand and wanted to remain anonymous said he feared the traffickers may change tactics from transporting these persecuted people in large numbers, to trafficking them in small groups or even one-by-one.

“Once the rain stops then we may see more arrivals of the Rohingya and this time the traffickers may change their tactics,” the officer said.

The monsoon has halted the traffic carrying persecuted Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants through southern Thailand but once the stormy season is over there could be more boats arriving, according to the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, Phil Robertson.

“Unless these trafficking networks are eradicated we will see more suffering,” Mr Robertson said, adding that the humanitarian situation in Arakan (Rakhine) state in western Myanmar has worsened since the state sponsored violence in 2012.

He said this could lead to a greater exodus once the monsoon ends.

In 2012, state sponsored violence erupted between Buddhists and Muslims resulting in the mass displacement of the Rohingya population within their own Arakan (Rakhine) state. Many Rohingya were driven out of city centers into isolated camps and makeshift villages, living under fear of fresh outbreaks of violence.

Almost all of those affected lacked access to medical care, education, and economic opportunities, causing many to flee on boats to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

The president of the Burmese Rohingya Association of Thailand, Maung Kyaw Nu, said ASEAN and world governments need to listen to the suffering of the Rohingya to properly address the issue.

“If they listen to our voice then there would be no more graves,” he said.

Meanwhile those who have already arrived in Thailand are still in limbo.

Officially not recognized as refugees, most are considered illegal migrants and are stuck in Thai government detention centers or shelters in southern Thailand.

“In local societies they are often seen as a burden, as a drain on society”, said Vivian Tan, Senior Regional Public Information Officer of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“This doesn’t need to be the case because of these refugees are allowed to work legally for the time they are here; at least they can become self-reliant and can contribute to society,” she said.

Note:Changes have been made,CAN is not responsible for these.




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