Thailand to Ask Burma to Help Identify Rohingya

Thai police process Rohingyas at an immigration center in southwest Thailand on Jan. 31, 2009 (Photo: Reuters)

BANGKOK — The Thai government might seek help from Burma in identifying the nationality of 857 people from the beleaguered Rohingya minority who are accused of entering Thailand illegally, authorities said on Tuesday.

The refugees, who arrived in three groups, were recently rescued by Thai security forces during raids in the southern border province of Songkhla. They included 667 men, 30 women and 160 children.

The asylum seekers will be repatriated to Burma if they are identified as its citizens, Foreign Ministry Permanent-Secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow told reporters on Tuesday. He said the government would hold discussions with the United Nations’ refugee agency before proceeding with those whose nationality is unverifiable.

Sectarian violence in Burma involving the Rohingya has left hundreds dead and many more homeless in recent months.

Last week, more than 300 Rohingya people were found living in poor conditions in crowded makeshift shelters on a rubber plantation in Songkhla’s Sadao District.

Police investigating whether the Rohingya were victims of human trafficking arrested eight suspects—six from Burma, including two Rohingya, and two Thais—who were believed to be traffickers last Thursday.

Authorities were also considering pressing charges of illegal entry against the refugees.

The United Nations estimates the Rohingya population in Burma at 800,000, but the government does not recognize them as one of the country’s 135 ethnic groups, and most are denied citizenship.

Rohingya speak a Bengali dialect and resemble Muslim Bangladeshis, with darker skin than most people in Burma. They are widely regarded as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and are heavily discriminated against, but Bangladesh also refuses to accept them as citizens.

Activists have called for Thailand not to deport the Rohingya to Burma because of the widespread discrimination.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told reporters on Tuesday that the government will discuss possible deportation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR.

“In the meantime, Thailand has the duty to take care of them. We are not going to send them anywhere yet because we have to look into the cause and talk to the country who will accept them and the country of their origin,” she said.

Thai officials said the refugee men have been held at police facilities across the province, while women and children have been under the care of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry. Sihasak, the Foreign Ministry official, said the deportation process was unlikely to start before the police investigation is completed.


9 Responses to Thailand to Ask Burma to Help Identify Rohingya

  1. It is easy. Let them speak in Burmese. That’s all. Bengali Burmese accent is 100% different and everyone from Burma can tell.

  2. I look at the photos about 10 time? I don’t think they are Myanmar citizens. They are Bengali from Bangladesh. Remember Bangladesh is one-third of Myanmar, and their population is 3 times of Myanmar. Bangladesh is trying to put its people to other’s

  3. If they threw away their identification cards and choose to be stateless, it is their fault. As commented by Isan, their origin can be identified by language as each of the districts, particularly Chittagong, Noakhali and Sylhet in Bangladesh use a different dialect.
    Bengalis from Bangladesh, a country smaller in size than the state of Iowa in US, have been migrating illegally to neighboring countries because of overpopulation (over 150 million) and scarcity of resources. Bangladesh is also a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism where the Government of Bangladesh has identified over 70 Islamic terrorists groups (including Islamic Rohingya terrorists) and one million trainees in extremist Islamic schools. As far back as 1975, the then Bangladesh Ambassador to Myanmar Khwaja Mohammed Kaiser admitted that “there were upward of 1/2 million Bangalee (Bangladeshi) trespassers in Arakan (Rakhine state) whom the Burmese (Myanmar) had some right to eject. He had implored the Burmese authorities not to press this issue during Bangladesh’s present troubles [COUP of August and November 1975] and had been pleased that the Burmese had not taken advantage of his country’s misfortune in this respect. CNN news media have recently published numerous reports of Bengalis illegally migrating eastwards by sea and land. Refer to CNN report of Nov 1, 2012, and Khabar South Asia of Dec 24, 2012. Once they cross the border, they identify themselves as Rohingya to gain international sympathy and unquestioning acceptance by news media. Bangladesh newspaper UNBConnect of Nov 21 and Dec 27, 2012 admitted that Bangladeshis are camouflaging themselves as Rohingya. These so called Rohingyas trained in terrorism in Bangladesh have now joined the Islamic insurgency groups in southern Thailand and terrorizing the country side. In addition, approximately 12 million to 17 million Bangladeshi immigrants have come to India illegally since the 1950s and thereby terrorizing, infiltrating and displacing the indigenous population in the border areas.

  4. Smart Thais, aren’t they? As if Rohingyas have horns on their heads or they can be identified by their DNA. I’m not surprised when officials or translation and interpretation services asked people who speaks ‘Rohingya’ as if it’s a ‘language’ or dialect. Those who have been meticulous in record keeping made no mention of ‘Roghingyas’ in their ethnographic records, doesn’t it mean something?

  5. “Rohingya” is a made up political entity and all news media should refrain from using this word unless it is used in this context. Since they are Bengalis, “so called Rohingya” or “Bengali (s)” is acceptable. Congratulations to Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Sinawatra for warning that the 840-plus so called Rohingya in detention in Thailand “might join the southern insurgency rather than seek asylum in a third country”. Bangkok Post of Dec 24, 2012 quoted a Thai intelligence services officer that “many male so called Rohingya migrants were trained as foreign fighters and work as mercenaries and some might are involved with the armed insurgent groups active in the southernmost region of Thailand”.

    • How about just calling them ‘people’ and treating them as such. We can’t know why they showed up in Thailand until we investigate impartially. Then we should act according to the law of the land, taking into consideration international humanitarian agreements we have signed for just such an occasion as this. Left to you guys, there’d be a howling mob armed with baseball bats chasing them off the end of the pier.

  6. Burmese are criminal nation on this earth.The terrorist Burmese barbaric invaders, robbers and injustice creators are responsible for all kind of crime in the country where they have started war against to all ethnic groups since 1948.

  7. It is the national security. I don’t want to see the rohingya people ruling the myanmar country because they are not ethnic from myanmar. Myanmar people can’t let other people conquer the country without attacking.

  8. Rohingyas even cheat to themselves … they cheat the world by hiding their original identitty – being Bengalis – then steal the name from Rakhine and demand themselves to be indigenous to Burma, though they have infiltrated the border and came from Bangladesh.

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