Rohingya Vision

Rohingya refugees await new lives in U.S

Rohingya refugees await new lives in U.S
September 25
12:09 2015

At 46 years old, Basamai, an ethnic Rohingya Muslim man, will for the first time obtain identity documents that will allow him to resettle in the United States next week, along with 23 other traffiking victims.

The 24 to be resettled follow four who left Thailand earlier this month, in a humanitarian program that has resettled 13,000 Muslims from Myanmar since 2002, according to the US Department of State Refugee Processing Centre.

Mr Basami, who is being split from his wife and eight daughters, was abducted by a group of men — including Myanmar soldiers — from his home in Maungdaw township of Myanmar’s Arakan  (Rakhine) state while he was cutting wod in the forest to sell at the market.

He was beaten and forced by his captors to board a ship, likely headed towards Malaysia, when it was intercepted by police in Thai waters after weeks at sea.

He was held at the Immigration Bureau’s detention facility in Ranong for months before he was identified as a trafficking victim and placed in a shelter under the custody of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, also in Ranong.

Last week, Mr Basamai was transferred to another shelter in Pathum Thani to await his US departure.

“Soon, I will finally receive documents proving my identity and will be able to carry out daily activities without fear,” he told the Bangkok Post Thurseday.

The United States will become his home, he said, adding he intends to start a new life.

Though an agricultural labourer back in Myanmar, Mr Basamai says he is eager to develop new skills and will seize any opportunity given to him after he relocates.

Following their arrival in the US — the exact location remains unknown — the Rohingya group will undergo Cultural Orientation Training before they can be resettled, said a source from the Ministry of Social and Human Security.

They will be provided English language lessons, as well as sufficient time and space to adapt physically, psychologically and culturally, said the source.

“It will be a fresh start for them, and they need to be ready.”

Meanwhile, a total of 560 Rohingya continue to languish in immigration detention facilities and shelters nationwide.

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

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