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Phuket Rohingya Alarmed As Telephone Contact With Burma is Severed

Sunday, June 10, 2012
PHUKET: Telephone contact between Rohingya living on Phuket and in Bangkok has been lost with relatives in Burma's Rakhine State, where mounting sectarian violence has led to an increased military presence.

The small group of about 20 Rohingya Muslims on Phuket has become alarmed because this is the first time they can recall telephone contact being severed.

Rohingya living in Bangkok have said they too are unable to contact relatives or friends inside Burma.

Mob attacks and reports of riots indicate that tensions are high between the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine and the Buddhist majority. A state of emergency has been declared.

The Rohingya lost their status in Burma in the 1980s with the military takeover and have been denied citizenship since, forcing thousands to flee oppression by putting to sea in flimsy vessels along the Andaman Sea coast, often attempting to sail past Thailand and Phuket to Malaysia.

In welcoming Burma's recent embrace of a more liberal and democratic outlook, the issue of the Rohingya and their statelessness has been put to one side by all nations aspiring to closer relations with Burma.

However, a number of people with sources in Rakhine State have pointed out that the new freedom of speech in Burma has encouraged denouncements of the Rohingya.

According to some sources, the Rohingya were brought to Burma by the British in the 19th century, when Burma was a colony. Other sources say the Rohingya have been in Burma for at least 400 years, and possibly as long as 700 years.

Although the tribulations of the Rohingya were raised anew when Phuketwan and the South China Morning Post newspaper revealed in 2009 that boatpeople were being pushed back out to sea from Thailand in an inhumane fashion, all governments in the region have failed to confront and resolve the Rohingya issue.

The result, rights organisations say, is that new-found freedom in Burma has given those who want the Rohingya to leave Burma a greater sense of entitlement.

An increased number of Burmese security forces have been sent to Arakan after mob violence and riots which appear to have involved unjustifiable violence and killings on both sides since Friday.

Rohingya on Phuket say that when they last spoke to relatives in the region yesterday, their concerns were mounting. No contact has been possible today.

Comments

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(moderated).

Posted by jimmy on June 10, 2012 21:47

Editor Comment:

Sorry, jimmy, we have an aversion to bigots and bullshit. Goodbye.


Tuesday April 23, 2019
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