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.

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