Thailand and refugees

I don’t know if anyone has been following this story, but the details are very disturbing.

The latest boatload of Burmese migrants to arrive in Thailand has been handed to the police rather than the military, after an outcry over their treatment.

The Thai military picked up 78 Rohingya boat people, who are Burmese Muslims, and handed them to the police.

It follows claims from other Rohingya, washed up in Indonesia and elsewhere, that the Thai military had beaten them and sent them back to sea.

It is thought almost 1,000 have been set adrift – with hundreds feared dead.

It appears that the Thai authorities are gathering the refugees into crowded boats that do not have any engines or supplies, and then dragging them back to sea and cutting them adrift. Effectively leaving them to die at sea.

I really do not understand the inhumanity that can do this sort of thing.


9 Responses

  1. I wonder if the UN will send a special commissioner from the UNHCR office to investigate? Any criticism in the European press about xenophobia, racism and bigotry running rampant in Thailand?

  2. Stephan

    What relevance does the UNHCR and the European press have to do with the seemingly deliberate actions of the Thai military?

  3. I believe he is trying to equivocate in regards to the naughty darlings of the European press, Palliwood…ahem.
    The insinuation being that noone cares about the plight of Rohingya refugees because they apparently don’t have access to the amazing PR & (presumed) sympathy that Gaza has drawn.
    I don’t see the relevance either, apart from the petty line of attack.

    Drag the waters some more Stephan.

  4. “but our correspondent says the government is getting little co-operation from the armed forces.”

    Says heaps about who is really ‘running the country’. (If there was ever any doubt). Look at the history.

    From an Australian point of view Thailand is certainly a different democracy. What with Lèse majesté, the Rule of Law takes on a totally different meaning.

    Now if the Rohingya were whales … The average Australian would probably be interested. If they were Dolphins, the vast majority of Australians most certainly would be interested.

    ‘Comments’ or perhaps the lack of same on this Blog simply reinforces the point. Lol.

  5. Nature, really there not whales or dolphins cause then they might not drown or be on a boat nor would it concern us if they were dragged back out to sea.

    Seriously, there is still much to learn about this practise before launching into a discussion but deep down i feel this happens more then in just Thailand. i hope this exposes something big and quickly.

  6. aquanut’

    There is little doubt, in my mind at least, that this practice is widespread.

    Indeed even Australia might not be ‘clean’. Anyone remember SIEV X?

    And really I should stop posting tongue-in-cheek. But …

  7. Nature 5, on January 28th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I think it’ll be a while before Fukuyama’s no-end-of-history and transhumanism kick in, and the the first of the new transhumans with flippers, and blow-holes, and squeaky voices take to the high seas in the waterworld of the future.

    In the meantime, the lot of the Rohingya does seem a tad vexed…loathed in Buddhist Burma, loathed in Buddhist Thailand; and for Thailand, there are those pesky international legal conventions and customary laws on refugees and universal human rights with which to comply. I’m not exactly sure where the ‘boat people’ would be being repatriated to safely, either, per the Thai position (the courtly flotsam version, not the military’s jetsam version) in the BBC piece. Then there’s that bizzo of a Muslim insurgency/civil war in the south of Thailand , which also isn’t mentioned much lately, but which probably articulates in with Thai military thinking at some basic level; one assumes that the ‘insurgency’ is being ‘suppressed’.

    (N.B. I was led to believe that whoever wasn’t given responsibility for upkeep on the white elephant was probably ‘in charge’ in Thailand; and, conversely, anyone who was gifted the white elephant and its upkeep this month probably wasn’t…for long.)

  8. And really I should stop posting tongue-in-cheek. But …

    well i can guess a few reasons why they are left to die, what gets me is how pigheaded one would be to think off that in the first place from a position of power.

  9. Saw the Thai gruppenfuhrer on SBS news last night acknowledging (painting over) the alleged treatment of the rohingya joni. I think the thrust of it was that they are being treated “humanely” (ahem) with proper regard for their human rights (cough) but are nonetheless regarded as economic refugees to be deported. Ironically he was speaking from the Economic forum, I believe one fat rich entertainer described it as “a meeting of fatcats in the snow”…f#ck I hate U2, & fatcats in the snow.
    Presumably by “deportment” he meant being cut adrift in international waters & left to fate.

    N5 is correct about the large round of indifference but a general lack of awareness about the rohingya is probably a huge factor in that.

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