Saturday, March 13, 2010

Did the Thai Navy abandon Rohingya at sea AGAIN?

A year ago, I blogged a post titled, "Thai Navy tortures Rohingya refugees in view of tourists."  Urban Svensson, a Swedish witness passed me some photographic evidence of Thai Navy human rights abuses against refugees.

The world learned that the Thai Navy was setting Rohingya refugees adrift on the high seas in their little wooden boats, and the lucky ones were being rescued by Indonesian fishermen.  Hundreds are thought to have drowned. Thailand seemed to be complicit in a Rohingya genocide.   An international outcry followed.  The Economist urged the US to call off its joint war games with the Thais. UNHCR goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie criticised Thai government.

Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva gave the world reassurances that there would be "a thorough military-led investigation, but simultaneously issued a blanket denial of abuse on behalf of the military."   Political scientist Thitinan Pongsudhirak wryly observed, "We are not going to see the Abhisit government going after the military because it was instrumental in his assumption of office."

Now it appears as if either the abuses never stopped, or they are happening all over again.  GJBKK blogs:
A boat full of Rohingya’s refugees have been picked up in Malaysia after reportedly being ‘’sent on their way” by the Thai Navy just off the Phuket coast. 

The Canadian Press reported that the vessel, containing 93 men, had been ”chased out of Thai waters” before they were eventually detained off the Malaysian island of Langkawi, south of Phuket.

Malaysian officials have been told the Rohingya, fleeing persecution in Burma, spent 30 days at sea in the crowded wooden boat, Canadian Press reported.
UPDATE: Follow-up post on this issue: Malaysia detains Rohingya boat people: Thailand implicated this time?

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