More From Alder's Ledge

January 2, 2013

Pushed Back Into The Abyss

Failure Of Humanity In Thailand
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Rohingya Refugees Awaiting Deportation From Thailand)

Found drifting off the shore of Thailand's resort town, Phuket, 73 Rohingya refugees are set to be deported back to Myanmar. Among the refugees are women and children. And despite their claims of physical abuse at the hands of the Burmese military, none are going to receive asylum within Thailand.

The question remains just why the Rohingya would want to stay in Thailand in the first place? 

Human traffickers in Thailand have used Rohingya as slaves for factories and fishing trawlers operating out of Thai waters. Thai police and military are often seen abusing Rohingya refugees and forcing the Rohingya back out to open water. Government organizations in Thailand have been discriminating against the Rohingya for decades. And yet the Rohingya still try to enter Thailand in droves. 

This leaves us to guess that even moderate discrimination and routine abuse are still seen as a better life than what awaits them back in Myanmar. 

(Refugees Show The Wounds Burmese Military Gave Them)

The UN says that the Thai authorities should halt all attempts to deport the refugees by labeling them "migrant workers". This cheap trick in labeling has allowed Thailand to persistently deny entry to Rohingya in the past. On many occasions the Thai navy has claimed that they had at the very least given some supplies to the "boat people" before sending them back to sea. But even in doing this the Thai navy was simply giving the Rohingya a death sentence in boats that obviously had already failed. 

UN officials have pleaded with Thailand to wait until UN observers could arrive to meet with the latest wave of Rohingya refugees. Yet, just as with most cases of "boat people", Thailand shows no intention of waiting before shipping the Rohingya families back over the border into Burma. 

(Thai Military Guard Rohingya Refugees)

In response to this failure by Thailand to show at least some form of humanity we can expect the UN to propose some new plan for Southeast Asian countries when dealing with Rohingya refugees. In doing this the UN will once again fail to do anything to actually stop the cause of this new wave of refugees in the first place. While telling Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries, to accept the refugees the UN has shown no sign of telling Myanmar to cease the killings that have caused this exodus. 

If the West will not act to stop the genocide the Rohingya will continue to flee by sea. Those who take to the ocean will once again face hostile navies and deadly cases of starvation and dehydration. As history has shown, hundreds... if not thousands... will be lost to the sea or be forced into slavery. 

Life amongst the Burmese government and Rakhine Buddhist has proven impossible for the Rohingya trapped within Myanmar. For this reason death at sea appears to be the only way out. And yet the West promised these people time and time again... Never Again.

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