Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Chittagong, Bangladesh: Rohingya from Thailand - Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) – had organized a press conference on The Rohingya "unwanted and alone in Thailand…” at Student Christian Centre (SCC), Bangkok on August 24, at about 9:30 to 13:00 hour, according to U Maung Kyaw Nu, President, BRAT.

Participants in the event


The key speakers who delivered their speeches in event were:-  Dr. Niran Pitakwatchara, National Human Right Commissioner of Thailand; Mr.Surapong; Kongchantuk, ;Human Rights Committee, Lawyers Council of Thailand; Mr.Sunai Phasuk; Advisor of Human Rights Watch; Ms.Saowanee Khomepatr Director, Bureau of Anti-Trafficking in Woman and Children, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security; Mr.Sarawoot Sriwannayos, Former President of Young Thai Muslim Organization; the Media award winner John Spark ; Ms.Chtima ,Editor of Phuketwan; U Maung Kyaw Nu,President of Burmese Rohinya Association in Thailand where M.s.Thananuch Sanguansak, Editor of Feature News, Nation Channel is Moderated the event.

Rohingyas who are living in the Thailand, representative of Bangkok Post and some representatives from National and International Media and TV Channels, some NGOs representatives and Diplomats also attended in the event.

“I was concerned that the Rohingya refugees were being deprived of basic rights while under temporary care in Thailand,” said Dr Niran Pitakwatchara, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) at the Rohingya conference in Bangkok.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled for persecution from Burma to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia over the past year by sea route, but many have ended up in Thailand and Thai authority kept them in poor temporary shelters, now it is time for the government to decide on temporary shelters for displaced Rohingya people until practical longer-term solutions are reached, said Dr. Niran.

They faced difficult to stay in poor temporary shelter, exploitation by trafficking gangs, and extortion from smuggling gangs during their stay in Thailand, Dr Niran.

"Though Thailand is not a signatory [to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention], relevant ministries could actually expedite their authority in providing decent and appropriate shelters for these people, based on human rights principles in the Thai Constitution," said Dr Niran.

"Being a refugee is not criminal. The Rohingya are not illegal immigrants," he said, arguing against the use of detention centers.

"There is adequate religious and community support for the Rohingya while they wait for appropriate durable solutions."

“Any local communities identified as sites for temporary shelters should be closely consulted before the Rohingya are relocated, he said. According to the Immigration Act , gave authorities the discretion to move out the Rohingya to a proper place outside of immigration detention centers.”

Panel speckers at the Rohingya conference in Bangkok

The more urgent need for a better solution and whatever decisions are made, policymakers should implement them quickly since separated families have become disheartened and some were being lured by gangsters to meet up with their families in Malaysia and Indonesia, said at conference Saowanee Khomepatr, director of the Anti-Trafficking in Women and Children division of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

The Rohingya exodus in the past year included more women and children for persecution and harassment inside their country which become worse for them to live in their home land and communication problems and uncertainty in their future have made them unwilling to cooperate with fact-finding and informal registration, proposed to Thai government to work with the UN refugee agency to check numbers and carry out formal registration while the migrants are under the temporary protection of Thailand, remained lax in uncovering and prosecuting trafficking gangs where the gangs have operated with the cooperation or active participation by Thai police and military figures, activists have claimed, according to Sunai Phasuk of Human Rights Watch.

“The Yingluck Shinawatra government had promised not to deport the Rohingya against their will, while the previous Democrat administration allowed them to be quietly pushed back at the border,” said Sunai.“That is one positive policy development in this year.”
Authorities should communicate and coordinate with Thai society to better accommodate the temporary stay of the Rohingya. The Thai government has prepared a set of policies on illegal immigrants which include the Rohingya but the National Security Council has dragged this out without launching specific measures, said Surapong Kongchuntuk, a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Lawyers Council of Thailand.

Mr. Surapong suggested that to start with all coastal and inland officials should not to deport or push Rohingya boat people back to sea. Trafficking syndicates, especially the uniformed and civilian officials in their ranks, should be also punished to give a stern warning to traffickers.

The Rohingya are an ethnic minority- facing discrimination and persecution in their daily lives- fleeing from their homeland (genocide north-west Arakan State, Burma) by boat to neighboring countries – Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. In Thailand, more than 2000 Rohingya are now being held in atrocious conditions in Thai detention centers while many more are being moved through remote Thai locations by criminal gangs. Pressure is building on Thailand’s government to provide better accommodation and long-term certainty to Rohingya detainees. Activists are calling on Thai government officials to lobby their counterparts in Myanmar for better treatment and long-term solutions – like international protection and to return citizenship for the Rohingya in Burma, said Maung Kyaw Nu, president of the Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand in the conference.

Maung Kyaw Nu, President , BRAT delivering his speech in the conference

Rohingya influx into neighboring countries have alarmingly become a regional problem immediately and also international problem in other aspect. It certainly demands regional and international community attention to find both present and future solution so that these persecuted people have a life in line with universal declaration of human rights of right to life, security and dignity, Mr. Kyaw Nu said.

Fleeing persecuted Rohingya through risky journey of high sea, some of them have been shored up in Thai coast or ended up in Thai sea. Those reached ashore have been under different detention camp indefinitely without trail and access to international, regional and domestic human right body and/or non-government body except handful. The prison situation is so horrifying that by no mean it meets minimum standard of detainee living condition. Rohingya face discrimination and dehumanization in crowded detention centers and at the hands of traffickers. The sad truth is that Thai authority has treated other immigrants from Burma generously and humanly, however they are iron-fist while treating Rohingya people. There are 1200 kilometers along Thai-Burma border, if a person from each kilometer Burmese illegal immigrant entered to Thailand everyday 1200 Burmese illegally entered but no one know how many left, how remain inside the Thailand, but Thai authorities are furious on only towards a small  Rohingya, that remains a question to general people why?, said Kyaw Nu.  

Rohingyas are not economic migrants but compelled by oppressive regime to flee their home and hearth for the fear of persecution which categorically considered under UN Convention of Refugee, so, they should be dealt accordingly with humanity. Present treatment of Rohingya by Thailand is not a solution for now and then. It is clear violation of universal human rights while Rohingya are direly in need of protection and provision then a viable solution, Kyaw Nu told the participant in the conference.
Rohingya is an indigenous people of Arakan whose domicile can be traced even before the birth of the name Arakan then Burma. Rohingya has hundreds and thousands years of history.

Rohingya is an indigenous people of Arakan whose domicile can be traced even before the birth of the name Arakan then Burma. Rohingya has hundreds and thousands years of history. It is neither mere-assertion of ancient nor invention of present. It is indeed well documented historical fact. Its geography and demography should have evidenced the claim that Rohingyas are natural and native sons of present Arakan. Ancient people of Arakan are Aryan descendants whose feature and tongue is same as Rohingya, different with Mongoloid origin known as Rakhine.

Rohingya has been component in every layer of governance both pre- and post-independence of Burma as one of the ethnic races and enjoyed every birth rights till military coup led by late dictator General Ne Win in 1962.
Then Ne Win led BSSP institutionally introduced 1982 Citizenship Act (known as black law ) targeting Rohingya minority to thoroughly strip off their citizenship and its affiliated rights and to gradually evacuate entire people from their own soil which has been successful through various tyrannical measures as  institutionalized discrimination, official restriction, systematic limitation, administrative marginalization and premeditated isolation.