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Boatpeople apprehended five months ago on Phuket remain prisoners

Phuket's Boatpeople Still Being Held

Saturday, July 9, 2011
PHUKET: Concerns are growing for the physical and mental health of 33 Rohingya, some as young as 14, who have been held in isolation in a cramped cell on Phuket since February.

One teenage Rohingya is believed to have recently fallen sick and been admitted to a Phuket hospital, with others are also thought to be suffering the effects of prolonged incarceration in cramped conditions.

''Everything's fine,'' said Phuket's Director of Immigration, Colonel Panuwat Ruamrak when a reporter inquired about the condition of the boatpeople after more than five months in Phuket's Immigration cells.

''When people fall sick, we take them to Vachira Hospital in Phuket City and then bring them back.''

When asked whether the boat people had access to sunlight and exercise, Colonel Panuwat did not respond.

Two teenage Rohingya previously died in custody in another Thai Immigration facility after having been kept for months in a small room without access to sunlight or exercise.

It is believed that the would-be refugees on Phuket are beginning to suffer depression and more serious mental disorders because their incarceration has no end, and they have no contact with their families in northern Burma or Bangladesh.

Phuketwan glimpsed the Phuket Rohingya, outcast Muslims deprived of citizenship in their homeland, as a security camera showed them praying in the cell back in April.

Previous visits to the cells at Immigration in Phuket City leave us in no doubt that the conditions are too cramped for 33 people, and that it remains a breach of rights to have boys as young as 14 incarcerated with adults.

Nothing is known of the fate of 35 other Rohingya, apprehended at the same time when the group's ricketty boat arrived on a beach in southern Phuket in the dark on January 31.

Because there was not space to hold all the boatpeople on Phuket and no room at a larger Immigration facility in Ranong, on the border with Burma, those 35 were sent to a holding facility in Phang Nga, the province north of Phuket.

Among them were more teenage boys, including a 12-year-old.

Local authorities in Phang Nga have since declined to reveal anything about their location or condition.

The arrival of the boatload of 68 men and boys on the popular holiday island of Phuket in January remind the world that no solution has been found to the plight of the Rohingya, a stateless minority persecuted within Burma, barely tolerated in Bangladesh, and pushed back out to sea from Thailand in a notorious secret breach of human rights in 2008 and 2009.

Two teenagers from the first boatload of Rohingya to reach Thailand after Phuketwan and the South China Morning Post newspaper revealed the ''pushbacks'' died in custody in Ranong, months later.

The remaining survivors were bent double and suffering from lack of space to exercise or fully move when they were transferred to a better facility in Bangkok.

The colonel in charge of the Ranong facility had previously assured Phuketwan that the Rohingya were being well-treated and happy to no longer be at sea.

The election of the Pheu Thai party last Sunday brings the Rohingya saga full circle. The revelation that the boatpeople were being pushed back out to sea came soon after a Democrat Party government had been appointed to rule Thailand.

It is believed the decision to push back the boatpeople was made by the Democrats' predecessor, a remnant of fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's original Thai Rak Thai party.

On Sunday, Thaksin's sister Yingluck led the poll landslide into power of the Pheu Thai Party.

In more than two years of Democrat rule, nothing changed for the Rohingya. The boatpeople on Phuket and elsewhere are likely to be kept in cramped cells indefinitely as a warning to others not to come ashore in Thailand.

The Rohingya being held on Phuket:

1. Pasula, 20
2. Muhamutlufit, 15
3. Chonchuhalam, 20
4. Zube, 19
5. Zalabut, 17
6. Muhamuthussen, 20
7. Muhamutzube, 17
8. Roiboonler, 16
9. Seahunhak, 17
10. Onamean, 24
11. Chaiyadullla,17
12. Nason, 16
13. Fayasonla, 17
14. Zifuaman, 17
15. Muhamutzulaiban, 20
16. Muhamutyasem, 16
17. Muhamutnaseen, 14
18. Muhamutlerfit, 15
19. Chaiyathalam, 20
20. Isdalis, 18
21. Ayamumla, 16
22. Muhutmutamean, 28
23. Muhamutlerfit, 17
24. Muhamut-Elist, 14
25. Kareanmomla, 16
26. Muhamutayob, 17
27. Muhamuteamran, 16
28. Jomeananut, 20
29. Muhamutjaman, 17
30. Zontalamut, 40
31. Soidalam, 21
32. Hasimonla,30
33. Muhammutyasean, 28

The Rohingya being held in Phang Nga:

1. Mortora, 15
2. O-Limmot, 23
3. Mamonlo, 20
4. Salerm, 15
5. A-Lumongla, 20
6. Duban, 14
7. Nudama, 19
8. Mohomut, 18
9. Choobut, 20
10. Tuehad, 21
11. Au-Sall, 12
12. Ab-dullchuku, 18
13. Ab-dull-luhim, 16
14. Kaman, 15
15. A-dull-laman, 28
16. Nonmuhamut, 19
17. Lawfit, 35
18. Sofi, 16
19. A-deesoha, 34
20. Aubdullsalam, 45
21. Noot-Asom, 16
22. Adfa, 20
23. Soni, 25
24. Sosi, 50
25. Ropik, 30
26. Elird, 25
27. Dinmuhamut, 18
28. Amen, 20
29. Fuson, 18
30. Soyak, 18
31. Abdull-Dullli, 30
32. Adullsalam, 30
33. Nutwasa, 12
34. Rositdallla, 35
35. Rollfit, 30
More Phuket Boatpeople! About 68 Rohingya Land on Phuket in Two Groups
Breaking News UPDATE About 68 Rohingya in two groups have been apprehended after the first boatpeople waded ashore on a quiet part of Phuket near a luxury five-star resort.
More Phuket Boatpeople! About 68 Rohingya Land on Phuket in Two Groups

UN Calls for 'Protection' Access to Rohingya
Latest The fate of two groups of Rohingya in custody and at least two more groups who may be on the water sparks a UN call for access to determine the status and assure the safety of the men.
UN Calls for 'Protection' Access to Rohingya

Second Boat Ashore on Andaman Coast: More Refugees Sailing South
Latest The boatpeople ''pushbacks'' that plunged Thailand into a human rights crisis are echoing as a second vessel carrying Rohingya would be refugees lands on the Andaman coast.
Second Boat Ashore on Andaman Coast: More Refugees Sailing South

Phuket Reporters Win Human Rights Prize
News Awards Phuketwan reporters have shared an important international Human Rights Award in Hong Kong for their work in exposing the plight of the Rohingya boatpeople.
Phuket Reporters Win Human Rights Prize

Phuket Pair Win Top Asia Pacific Reporting Awards
Latest Phuketwan's editorial team pick up two top journalism prizes at Asia Pacific awards: for Excellence in Investigative Reporting and for Excellence in Human Rights Reporting.
Phuket Pair Win Top Asia Pacific Reporting Awards

Boatpeople off Thailand: Conflicting Accounts Grow
Breaking News Conflicting reports surround Thailand's treatment of 93 Rohingya boatpeople. A Royal Thai Navy spokesman says another group may already be being held in Thailand.
Boatpeople off Thailand: Conflicting Accounts Grow

Comments

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Oh My God. How thoroughly disgusting. "The boatpeople ... are likely to be kept in cramped cells indefinitely as a warning to others not to come ashore in Thailand."

And that's their lot in life is it ? For 12 and 14 year old boys ? Just across the bridge in Phang Nga ? Don't get me wrong it's a difficult problem to find a solution for but ... holding children captive in cramped cages as a warning to others ?

It's sickening.

Posted by James on July 9, 2011 10:11

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Yes, sickening.
Who is in-charge for this people? the police or the court?

Please spread this news through your social media accounts, emails etc.

Hopefully this will put some pressure on our authorities.

Posted by Mr. K on July 9, 2011 10:28

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Excellent that Phuketwan has highlighted this yet again.
Disgraceful that after 5 months they are still incarcerated. Can anyone imagine what it would be like to spend even 5 days in there?

What's the solution? Repatriation? Probably unsafe for them to return. Refugee camp? Are there any in the South? No easy solutions at all on this one.

Keeping it in the public eye is a good way for pressure to be brought to bear and for some decisions to be made by the Government. Continued incarceration means no one in power is even thinking about their fate.

Posted by Mr Man on July 9, 2011 11:58

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Amazing Thailand--The Land of Smiles !!

Appalling abuse of human rights - inexcusable behavior

Posted by Anonymous on July 9, 2011 12:38

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just send the muslims back where they came from, Bangladesh or Burma, but if Malaysia wants them send them there?
Thailand dont want this people here thats clear! so do something!

Posted by Mika on July 9, 2011 14:59

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Where is the Red Cross ? they can get in anywhere, no one can deny them to come inside the jail and check the conditions there.

Posted by Bjorn on July 9, 2011 18:48

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Actually,they are seeking a peaceful place where they can live and a peacful life.Still they are insecure by all means inside country they have lost Id cards, citizenship, no freemovement in a country, city to city and forced labor for military regime.The criminal barbaric Burmese regime is misusing the power, killing the innocent, defenceless, helpless ethnic groups and there are much more in the prisons.
It's a serious problem for the neighbor countries if they don't consider to solve this issue seriously.ASEAN is responsible for that because ASEAN has given a membership to a brutal criminal regime.

Posted by Azmi on July 9, 2011 21:01

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To Mika, assume again you are a Farang and a lot of Thai who does not want us in Thailand so I suggest you get home, you have to remember again you are a guest here in Thailand and all the person by nature entitled to help show the need of all religions.
Have a nice day Mika and treat you as an immigrant here in Thailand.

Posted by Bjorn on July 10, 2011 08:27

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I believe the Red Cross did gain access to them some months ago but have not heard anything since. Maybe the Red Cross has forgotten about them. Thailand is NOT allowed to repatriate them to 'where they came from' if there are reasonable grounds to believe they will be persecuted. So the solution is NOT easy Mika.

Posted by Mr Man on July 10, 2011 10:29

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Abysmal to hear that nothing has changed. After reading this I made some calls and was told ... that I was misinformed. Being American I really can't criticize, we have our own horrid and continuing track record but I continue to hope that someday we will become a more enlightened world.

It really comes down to whether or not you believe that any society has a responsibility to treat all human beings as equal, that they deserve basic human rights regardless of race, creed or origin. I guess I have nothing to add here really. I will never understand the attitude of the Mika's or the people who participate in this type of persecution. For myself I always think that but for a roll of the dice I could be the one sitting in that cell.

Posted by Martin on July 10, 2011 12:14

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Have you noticed that Soi Dogs get much better treatment than these folk and they live free. Feel bad in your heart Thai authorities, you don't care for anybody but yourselves.
The world is reading this.

Posted by Graham on July 10, 2011 17:43


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