Monthly Archives: March 2010

Nearly 100-boat people reach Thailand

Nearly 100-boat people reach Thailand

kaladanpress, Wednesday, 10 March 2010 21:31

Teknaf, Bangladesh: A wooden boat with nearly 100 boatpeople reached an Island in Thailand on March 8, according to a broker Rhul Amin, from Teknaf, Bangladesh.

It is also confirmed by Ms. Chalida Tajaroensuk, Director People’s Empowerment – Empowering People for a Strong Civil Society, an organization in Thailand which is working for Arakanese Rohingya boat people network that 93 Arakanese Rohingyas arrived in Ranaung by boat in Thailand on March 8.

Thai authorities did not allow them to enter but provided food, fuel and other necessities before they left. This time, Arakanese Rohingya boatpeople were not arrested and were allowed to go away by the Thai Navy, said Khaine Thidar Aung from Foundation for Education & Development (Grassroots HRE) of Thailand.

The boatpeople left Thailand for Malaysia from Cox’s Bazaar district of Bangladesh on February 28, but stayed more than two days on sea near Shapuri Dip Island due to engine trouble after which the engine boat left for Malaysia.

The brokers Moulvi Abdu Rahim, and Rhul Amin from Boroitoli village of Teknaf union organized the boat people. They collected Taka 25,000 to 30,000 per head, But, last year they collected Taka 15,000 to 20,000. This time, the broker Moulvi Abdu Rahim also went to Thailand accompanied by the boatpeople as they did not want to go to Thailand without him. Moulvi Rahim was once arrested in Thailand for human trafficking, but later he was released after he paid. If he is arrested human trafficking will be stopped, said a local from Teknaf on condition of anonymity.

On hearing that boatpeople had reached Thailand, the remaining brokers in Bangladesh have been getting hold of new boat people for Malaysia. Within two days, another boat with 30 Arakanese Rohingyas will go to Malaysia from Bangladesh.

Two more engine boats with Arakanese Rohingyas left for Malaysia from Bangladesh coast on the last week of February and may have reached Indonesia. It is not confirmed how many people were on the two boats, said another local from Shapuri Dip, whose relative went to Malaysia by boat.

Arakanese Rohingyas have been fleeing from their homeland as Burma has been building barbed wire fencing and has increased political persecution against the Arakanese Rohingya people and Bangladesh is arresting and pushing back Arakanese Rohingyas to Burma. It is not surprising that they will risk their lives, said an Arakanese Rohingya boatpeople watchdog from Thailand..

According to Htoo Chit, the Director of Foundation for Education & Development (Grassroots HRE) of Thailand, the boat after refueling and food supplies from the navy crashed near Phuket and the navy took them somewhere.

Seventy nine (79) boat people including eight Burmese Muslims, (two had already died), were arrested in Ranaung Province of Thailand in 2009. Of them 30 Arakanese Rohingyas are Bangladeshi and they returned to Bangladesh. So, there are 47 Rohingya boatpeople including eight Burmese Muslims that need UNHCR to act.

Thousands of Arakanese Rohingyas are regular victims of discrimination and human rights abuse in Bangladesh and Arakan State, Burma and have sought to leave the country by taking to the sea in open boats, in the hope of reaching Malaysia or Thailand. Unknown numbers have died during the voyage.


Rudd, SBY sign people-smuggling framework

Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) hugs Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Top-level talks: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hugs Kevin Rudd at Parliament House (AAP: Alan Porritt/Pool)

Australia and Indonesia have agreed to work together to do more to stop people smuggling and terrorism in the region.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made the pledge today after an extensive meeting on a range of topics.

Mr Yudhoyono is on a three-day visit to Australia and will address a joint sitting of Parliament this afternoon.

The agreement comes after Indonesia’s foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, and his Australian counterpart, Stephen Smith, met yesterday to discuss its details.

Mr Rudd has announced they have agreed to have annual meetings between senior ministers of the two countries and closer co-operation on issues including education and climate change.

But the centrepiece of today’s announcement was a new agreement to try to stop the flow of asylum seekers reaching Australia.

"Our officials yesterday signed an implementation framework on people smuggling and trafficking," Mr Rudd said.

"This will enhance and intensify our co-operation on dealing with this complex regional and global challenge."

The two leaders have also agreed to work together to combat terrorist groups in the region.

Mr Rudd said he and Mr Yudhoyono had had a "long and intimate discussion" on the two countries’ relationship.

"For us in Australia, Indonesia is a major partner for our future in the region and the world at large," Mr Rudd said.

Earlier, Dr Natalegawa said he did not support any policy to turn boats back from Australian waters.

"We have been working with successive Australian governments recently of different political inclinations in a very good way on people smuggling," he said.

"I think going to this kind of approach of simply pushing back boats to where they have come from would be a backward step.

"It would not be a useful step because it would be inconsistent with that approach of having the three elements [of] origin, transit and destination countries working hand in hand."

Dr Natalegawa says Indonesia will also enact laws to fight people-smuggling.

"The Indonesian government is determined to formally and legally criminalise people-smuggling as an activity, notwithstanding our tremendous co-operation and work on the issue in the past," he said.

"And so it is part and parcel of that architecture in addressing the problem."

Meanwhile, Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has described his talks with the Indonesian president this morning as cordial, constructive and candid.

Mr Abbott said he discussed several issues with Mr Yudhoyono.

"We talked about the potential for deepening economic cooperation between Australia and Indonesia," Mr Abbott said.

"We talked about the need to have strong policies against people smuggling. We also talked about the circumstances of people in Indonesian jails."

Mr Abbott has signalled that a Coalition government would turn back asylum seeker boats making their way to Australian waters.

Neglected Burmese refugees from Malaysia busy to find safe territory

By William Mathew

Jakarta, March 10, 2010: Recently, the last week of December 2009, some neglected and discriminated Rohingya Burmese refugees managed to find a safe territory in the Indian Ocean.

The sea falls in Australian territory as at least 10 Burmese refugees from Malaysia were picked by Australian navy on 29 Dec 2009. These refugees were found by Australian petrol aircraft.

Reports confirmed that all of these refugees identified as Rohigya Burmese to whom no protection is awarded by concern UN Refugee Agency and thus sailing in Aussie territory after broke down engines.

One of them is Habiburahman (30) who is actively involved in Human Rights and Democratic Movement, able to speak well English. Beside him, another refugee rights activist Sayad Kasim is found very active in advocating the matter of suffering Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. Both of them are coordinators for a Malaysia based NGO known as Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC) and 1990s elected party leaders in exile regional office for South East Asia (National Democratic Party for Human Rights-NDPHR)

Report also confirmed that an hour later of the patrol aircraft found them in 22 miles away from Ashmore Island, at the after noon of the day; they were safely rescued by Navy-88. In-Charge officer Lt.Robert Wright and teams had warmly provided foods and inquest about health condition, on the boat.

After that they were handed over to custom ship (Ashmore Guardian ACV-110) and spent 3 days on the ship, they all were lifted to Christmas Island by Navy 87.

Finally, they all were moved to North West Point, Immigration detention centre of Christmas Island by kind cooperation of police, custom and immigration..

An acting monitor of the camp said that overall population of detainees in here make about 2000 and they are mostly from Sri Langka and Afghan and a few numbers from Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Kuwait and Burma. Out of them, only 43 are Rohingya Burmese who recognized as genuine refugees by the UNHCR in Malaysia but compelled to flee there to escape inhumanity and to find a safe territory.

However the camp here is like a hotel, we never been have like this before and respected human rights and dignity and assessments. We get everything here like accommodation with air-condition and necessary machines like washing, refrigerator and others facilities like 3 times meals and extra diet foods, internet and library, playgrounds and games and toys, recreation centre, hot and cool shower, clothing and others…., said Habib.

Habib also explained that Rohigya refugees in Malaysia are victims of human rights abuses and marginalized in refugees quota due to existing unsettle problems of unavoidable circumstances in Burma. Due to lack of equal and fair treatment in UNHCR-mass Rohingya face more problems compare to others and mostly spent in arrest, detention and deportation; and sold out to human traffickers or border smugglers.

There is no mechanism for protection of refugees and sincere engagement by acting operation partners, as well as misinforming to stake holder parties by those actors. The worst is that Rohingyas are being used for various purposes with unworkable solution, which pave a role of conspiracy or exploitation. If not, why the problem still exists?

Although UNHCR new representative is substituted since 2009, UNHCR policy on Rohingya is found that Rohigya themselves to pave integration into possible society therefore Rohingya started moving to search possible territory in new regions by alternative way.

Habib affirmed that “I personally faced security problems and mostly spent in detention and deported in four occasions during spent in 10 years in Malaysia. that is why I planned to seek refuge in safe country. UNHCR, Indonesia is also recognize the refugees as migrants and handed over to International organization for Migration (IOM). IOM finally gave 2million Rupees and proposed to smuggle into Malaysia back. Thus I finally reached to here.”

A refugee representative in Serdang area of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia said they are lucky but we had been cheated and put the jungle for few days. Finally arrested by police and kept in police lock up of Banting for several days. We have only a way is this…..

Unravelled Situation of Rohingyas In Malaysia

Researcher James,

About 1 hundred of Burmese refugees arrested in Malaysia during January and February, 2010.

According to area base refugee representatives, most identified as UNHCR card holder Rohingya refugees. And arrested;

20 prs from Puchong on January, 2010,

13 prs from Selayang on 25th feb, 2010,

50 prs from Selangor Pasar on the second week of Febuary, 2010

15 prs from Cheras on the end of Febuary, 2010. And sent; Selayang group to Lenggeng camp, Cheras group to Ajil camp and the rest to Ajil camp.

“They are being upset for the leaders are not willing to raise this issue nor interest due to having unravelled dialogs between authorities and refugee leaders. It’s interaction only and responsible for dissemination.” Said Harun.

Mr.Habib expressed, “my criteria in Malaysia were not too much difference from home but no initiation of assistance and render received. For the result of unworkable engagements which rely on the host and exclusion of refugees’ instruments, the dimension for Rohingya will not be worked.

He noted that the past leaders of Burma quoted that Rohingya is their but subjected as internal, minor matter. Today, similar indications recur there. It’s bad-tempered that Rohingyas in Malaysia face distortion like separation from international solution and un-separation from overall recognition.

His frustration is that while dissent planning was Rohingya themselves to pave integration into possible society, he faced detention 6 times and deportation in 4 occasions as well as physical abuses and security threats by authorities. He said that theses all were aired and published.

“Protection of Rohingya refugees was relied on the host’s commitment therefore I finally like others headed to Australia in search of a safe territory as a refugee and approached into possible society as pave as’.” He added.

On Sept 2009 to Feb 2010, total 43 Rohingyas landed by 4 difference boats. They are well treated and enjoyed their rights.

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