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Marine Police take Rohingya into custody along the Andaman coast

How the Andaman Links to Amnesty 'Torture'

Wednesday, January 14, 2009
AMNESTY International has released a report that accuses the Thai military of ''systematic'' torture of suspected insurgents in the South.

The BBC says the report, citing testimony from victims, ''said troops had beaten and kicked detainees, given them electric shocks, near-suffocated them and sexually abused them.

''In one case, it said, three rubber farmers were detained. One was beaten until he died, the other two were brutally tortured by soldiers who wanted them to admit to being insurgents.''

This follows the report a day earlier from Washington-based Refugees International, calling on the Thai Government to ''instruct its Army to desist from its new and troubling policy of pushing refugees and migrants intercepted on boats back out to sea.''

What has any of this to do with tourism, you might ask?

Well, a lot of what the Army is now doing is taking place in the same waters as dive trips and sightseeing tours by tourists along the whole Andaman coast.

Boat people by the hundreds have been plucked from the sea off Phuket and also landed on the coast to the north and to the south of Khao Lak.

This human drama is being played out on the same Andaman stretch that was this week labeled ''The Luxury Destination of the Year'' by the New York Times Travel Section.

The connection between the alarming reports from Amnesty and Refugees International lies in the Army's belief that the Rohingya boat people are coming from Bangladesh or northern Burma for the express purpose of joining the insurrection in the South.

This is why the Army denies that it is collecting boat people, who are being apprehended by the hundreds along the coast and in Thai waters, and keeping them on Koh Sai Dang (Red Sand island) in secret.

The Army is then, according to local fishermen and others with a direct connection to the process, releasing the boat people in international waters, with only paddles for power.

As Refugees International points out, the Thai Army is placing the occupants of barely seaworthy craft at an unacceptable level of risk.

Today Phuketwan publishes previously unpublished photographs, supplied by marine police, of recent arrests along the Andaman coast.

These people were all subsequently handed over to the Army. We think the world needs to know about this issue, and to be as alarmed as we are.

We think officials all along the Andaman coast should be alarmed, too.

Why?

Well, soon after the 2004 tsunami, a Canadian television journalist interviewed a Burmese community leader near Khao Lak about their suffering.

He asked: ''Why should the world be concerned about what is happening to you?''

The man looked straight at the camera and said: ''Because we are human beings, too.''

If only journalists could ask the Rohingya the same question.

All About the Army's 'Exile Island'


Thailand Told: 'Stop Army Mistreating Boat People'
Phuketwan's revelations of the Thai Army's covert repatriation of Rohingya boat people have brought a call from Refugees International for Thailand to halt the repugnant process.
Thailand Told: 'Stop Army Mistreating Boat People'

Phuketwan Voyages to Secret Exile Island
Island Album
The Rohingya keep coming by boat illegally, but a change in tactics means the Army now claim them and keep them in secret on an Andaman island before letting them go out at sea.
Phuketwan Voyages to Secret Exile Island

Exclusive: Secret Rohingya 'Exile Island' Revealed
Photo Album
Concern is increasing about the manner in which Rohingya are being secretly turned back to sea off Thailand after first being detained on an Andaman island
Exclusive: Secret Rohingya 'Exile Island' Revealed

In Pictures: Arrest of the Rohingya


Photo Special: Phuket Navy Holds Burmese Muslims
Photo Exclusive
The first astonishing photos of hundreds of Burmese Rohingya attempting to enter Thai waters are on Phuketwan now, as chronicled by the Royal Thai Navy.
Photo Special: Phuket Navy Holds Burmese Muslims

'Starving' Boatloads: Phuket Call for UN Action
World Exclusive
Hundreds of hungry boat people are being apprehended north of Phuket, prompting a call for United Nations intervention. Phuketwan exposes the Andaman's serious human rights issue, the Rohingya.
'Starving' Boatloads: Phuket Call for UN Action

Burmese in Thailand: Essential Reading


Exile Island Plan: 200 Burmese in Jail

Crackdown on Burmese as Arrest Numbers Grow

54 Burmese Found Dead in Phuket Bound Container

Deathship Burmese Muslims Forced Back to Border

Andaman Island Sites Readied for Boat People

Burmese Detention Island Cause for Concern

Water and Fire: A Tsunami Reunion

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Sunday August 20, 2017
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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