Thousands of Rohingya Muslims Trapped at Sea
As many as 6,000 Rohingya migrants are reportedly trapped at sea, whilst in the past 24 hours, Indonesia and Malaysia have rescued in the region of 1,600 Rohingya fleeing persecution and oppression in their homeland, Burma.
The migrants are attempting to cross the treacherous sea in wooden vessels into Malaysia where they are generally better received than in other neighbouring countries. Last week, reports emerged of mass graves being found in Southern Thailand. In recent months a growing number of reports and horror cases have emerged from Thailand of rights abuse and human trafficking. Swathes of 'slave camps' where migrants are locked and held until their families pay ransom have been found. Those whose ransoms are paid will then be trafficked onto another gang to other parts of Thailand or neighbouring countries.
The Pedang Basor (Thailand) mayor, Soe Naing, his deputy and around 50 police officers have been arrested in connection with the human trafficking and consequential human rights abuses. The discovery of the mass graves in Southern Thailand has manifested what many had thought of the abuse of Rohingya in these 'slave camps'. It is believed that the mass graves have deterred the Rohingya migrants from attempting to shore in Thailand.Photo credit: Roni Bintang/ Reuters
A large boat was found washed ashore the resort island of Langkawi in Malaysia late on Sunday night where 866 men, 102 women and 49 children were rescued. Distressed, hungry and confused, the Rohingya victims fleeing oppression in Burma are being treated by the Malaysian authorities for dehydration and exhaustion.
A boat carrying 600 migrants was rescued off the coast of Aceh in Indonesia early Monday morning. Many on board had not eaten in days and were visibly in desperate need of care and medical attention. This morning, (Tuesday 12th May) another boat which had strayed in Indonesian waters was towed further out to sea by Indonesian authorities.
Senior navy officials justified their actions by claiming that as the vessel had not intended Indonesia to be its final destination, it was given supplies and encouraged to sail on to other territories. The boat had 400 passengers and was allowed to shore for a few hours overnight on Monday where it was fuelled before being towed out to the sea once again.
The Rohingya have faced decades of abuse and oppression by the Burmese Government who do not accept the Rohingya as nationals and citizens and have been victims of violence leading them to escape the countries or face being moved to IDP (internally displaced persons) camps. The thousands stranded in wooden boats along the Malacca Strait are just another example of regional coalition ASEAN and international organisations failure to hold the Burmese Government to account over the abuse the Rohingya face on a daily basis.