Rights group urges Thailand to look after detained Rohingya

by Usa Pichai
Thursday, 20 August 2009 14:05

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – In the wake of two deaths in the detention camp, a rights group in Thailand has urged Thai authorities to provide humanitarian assistance including medicare to detained Rohingya asylum seekers.

Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (TACDB) in a statement on Tuesday said two Rohingya, who were detained in Ranong province’s Immigration Office, died due to lack of medical attention.

The group said, on July 1, 2009, 20-year old, Abdul Salam, died while in detention. He vomited blood several times but officials did not pay heed and refused to take him to hospital or provide medical attention, resulting in his death.

Similarly, the group said, on August 13, 2009, an 18-year old, Hama Tula, died of an unidentified illness.

After the two deaths, the TACDB urged authorities to take several other sick Rohingya detainees in the camp to hospital.

The two dead were among a group of 78 detained ‘Rohingya Boat People’, who were arrested in January after their boat arrived on the Thai coast.

A number of them were sent back to Bangladesh after they admitted to being Bangladeshis and not Burmese and expressed their desire to go back home. Reportedly, 55 people are still in the Ranong Immigration Office.

The TACDB also urged the Thai government not to forcibly repatriate them as their lives are at risk in Burma.

The group further urged the authorities to allow the detainees to practice their religious rituals, as Ramadan, a holy month in the Islamic religion, is to begin from August 21. During this month, Muslims fast and pray throughout the day and eat only after sunset.

“We also called on the Thai government to clarify its policy so that it will not push the Rohingya group to face an uncertain destiny in Burma,” the group said.

Besides, the group also called for investigation into the death of the two men, as they died in detention by the authorities. According to Thai law, families or representatives have the right to access the investigation.

Pol Lieutenant Colonel Nattarit Pinpak, Chief of Ranong Immigration Office said on Wednesday that the 55 Rohingya people, who were in Ranong, were sent to the Repatriation Center in Bangkok on the orders of the Royal Police Office in Bangkok.

Marut Hudsen, a 50-year old man from Arakan State in Burma said they are happy to be moved to the center but are worried about the future where they may be sent back to Burma, where everybody knows about difficulties they have to face.

“If we have a choice, we want to live in Thailand,” Hudsen was quoted as saying by a Thai newspaper Komchadluek.

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