16th January 2009
The Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) supports the Press Release dated January 15, 2009 of the Refugees International urging the Thai officials to treat the Rohingya and other boatpeople humanely and “to ensure that refugees seeking asylum are properly screened and are not forced back to their country of origin if it will put them at risk.”
The Rohingya are the worst victims of human rights violations in Burma. They are rendered stateless and have no rights within Burma while living in abject poverty. Crimes against humanity have been perpetrated against them, including denial of citizenship rights, severe restriction on freedom of movement, marriage and religion, forced labour, rape, land confiscation, arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings and extortion on daily basis. This impossible situation has constrained them to leave their hearths and homes in search of safe shelter and better life.
We express our serious concern over the harsh treatment of the boatpeople by the Thai security forces. Towing and forcing these helpless, hapless and highly vulnerable people back to the sea tying their hands without any foods in engineless boats to expose them to the risk of capsizing and sinking is a merciless action made in utter disregard of international law and other international standards and practices. Report says one of such boats has capsized resulting in the death and missing of more than 300 people. It is not a solution at all.
Therefore, we urge upon the Government of Thailand and all those concerned to treat these boatpeople humanly, and not send the Rohingya asylum seekers back to Burma, where their lives will be in danger. Instead they may be granted adequate protection and assistance on humanitarian ground. We also urge upon the Thai Government with the international community to try for a permanent solution of the longstanding Rohingya problem.
For further information contact: Phone: +44 07947854652,
or visit www.rohingya.org