Rohingya Boatpeople Released from Prison

Rohingya people perennially leave their homes and families in Burma and Bangladesh where they face extreme discrimination and are denied citizenship. They often find they have little alternative but to try to travel illegally across the Andaman Sea to try to find work in Thailand, Malaysia or another third country. (PHOTO: Reuters)

Rohingya people perennially leave their homes and families in Burma and Bangladesh where they face extreme discrimination and are denied citizenship. They often find they have little alternative but to try to travel illegally across the Andaman Sea to try to find work in Thailand, Malaysia or another third country. (PHOTO: Reuters)

Forty-three of the 85 Rohingya boatpeople who were sentenced to one year in prison for illegally entering Burma were on Wednesday released under a presidential pardon, with the remaining 42 due to be released on Thursday, according to sources in Mon State.

The 85 were sentenced in June and have been detained in Moulmein Prison since being arrested in May when their boat broke down while they were attempting to flee to Malaysia. The economic refugees were rescued in high seas by Mon fishermen and taken to the town of Ann Deim in Ye Township, Mon State. They were fed and sheltered by local villagers, but were subsequently arrested and detained for allegedly violating Burma’s immigration law.

Sources in Moulmein said that the 43 were pardoned by Burmese President Thein Sein, and were transported by truck to Pegu Division on Wednesday night.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday, a Muslim religious leader in Pegu, Than Htike Aung, said that he had met the 43 released Rohingyas who were mostly young men between the ages of 17 and 50. He said they could not speak Burmese.

Than Htike Aung said that when the remaining 42 economic migrants arrive in Pegu, the local police intend to transfer them to Buthidaung near the Bangladeshi border.

He said that he and other representatives of the Muslim community in Pegu had brought food to the Rohingya boatpeople that morning, and had documented the returning refugees in case any of them go missing en route to the western border.

Rohingya people perennially leave their homes and families in Burma and Bangladesh where they face extreme discrimination and are denied citizenship.

The Muslim Rohingya often find they have little alternative but to try to travel illegally across the Andaman Sea to try to find work in Thailand, Malaysia or another third country.

They are frequently described by human rights groups as “one of the most persecuted people in the world.”

The Rohingya issue drew international attention in 2009 when the Thai military was accused of intercepting boatloads of Rohingyas, sabotaging their vessels, and abandoning them at sea.


9 Responses to Rohingya Boatpeople Released from Prison

  1. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    Non of them can speak Burmese but Bengali. Speaking the language of host country is one of the common requirement of any country to accept them. Burmese government should talk with its Bengladish counterpart for the plight of these stateless people. It is not quite fair for Rakhing to put up with all these burden on their shoulder. If Burma is thinking of giving them some sort of residents inside Burma, the state of Rakhine should not be the only place for their resettlement but all different part of Burma.

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    • Please quote the section of international law which requires that refugees speak the language of their host country.

      I suspect you cannot – the very notion of it is absurd, if you took a moment to think about it… which – again – I suspect you haven’t.

      • The Burmese Freedom Fighter

        Hey Bob Haro;

        Here are a few extraction of becoming US citizens for you .

         What does the citizenship test consist of?
        You must know about basic U.S. history and government, and be able to speak, read, and write simple English.

        Do I need to be able to speak English to become a U.S. citizen?
        Yes, you must be able to read, write, and speak simple English.  There are some exceptions for some older and long-time residents, and for some disabled permanent residents.

        These are very common practices and requirements of any country to accept new comers.

        The Burmese Freedom Fighter

        • Conditions of acceptance of refugees are very different from conditions of granting citizenship. The article clearly refers to stateless people. Why would you think that migrants would already be fully conversant in the language of the country they are entering? The notion is nonsensical. Please also note that, for example, Spanish is the first language of over 37 million ppl in the USA.

  2. If they entered Burma illegally , why the remaining 43 are supposed to send to Buthidaung which belongs to Burma.  We want to know if Buthidaung is considered as dusbin to plunge all these illegal migrants without proper trace from where they are.  If they belong to Myanmar they must be accepted and if to Bangladesn must be sent back Rohingers to Buthidaung?  Why that mindset is there to send them to Buthidaung as if Buthidaung does not belong to Burma without proper investigation their root.  People are very lazy to do their work for various reasons to fence.  If you let it happen like this, you please preapare your  Pegu to be  dumped for illegal migrants. 

  3. Send them back to Bangladesh
    side. I doubt some Bangladeshi Bengali become Rohingya even without illegal
    entering to Rakhine state. When they reached to Malaysia
    and they will be recognized as refugee if they claimed they are Rohingya
    peoples from Arakan state. Rohingya is Bengali from Bangladesh
    and Bangladeshi Government takes them back. Please, don’t dump your citizens in
    Burma. If
    Bangladeshi Government thinks its country is over populated and then starts doing
    family plan in Bangladesh.
    Burmese Government and its law enforcement officials must think seriously about
    Buthitaung and Maungdaw because now these two townships are Bengali Muslim city
    and later becoming unofficial Bangladesh
    territory.

  4. Rohingyas prosecuted other innocent people. Find out who is the one that started saying that they are the most prosecuted?

  5.  Your comment is wrong.what do you know???? they are the Aborigines of Northern Rakhine.is irrelevant to the Burmese.what do you know their origin? they are the original inhabitants of North Rakhine,For a long time they suffer,do not insult them, Rakhine Buddhists have long deceive other people Buma, this Buddhist Rakhine actually immigrants from Bangladesh, not Rohingya, in Bangladesh is still a sizable population of 2 million Buddhists, since 1971, Rakhine Buddhists have come from Bangladesh and they bought property from residents today their local plans for violence on the Rohingya minority.Rakhine Buddhist immigrants have made ​​a fool you all …One day you will regret their own lie at all. I believe that justice remains a reality ..we all love whatever country, we face good and the bad for so long, why Rohingya trying to be a target today? long time no hear this case since 1982, the new law seems to have set this special law for Muslim Rohingya.

  6.  somehow this mindless volence must stop ,it doesn’t matter who is responsible rohingya or rakhine .Burmese security forces hav failed repeatedly in protecting people and property.I strongly suspect some western intelligence agencies hand this violence,Americans may be interested in halting chinese investment in arakan coast 

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