Saturday, February 2, 2013
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) yesterday urged all involved countries to provide assistance to Rohingya people leaving Myanmar.
The UNHCR’s senior regional public information officer, Vivian Tan, said the Rohingya people’s journey out of their homeland was often full of risk, and hundreds had died along the way.
“Many use small boats to travel over the sea for well over 10 days,” she said.
She was speaking as she visited UNHCR officials along the Thai-Myanmar border.
The Rohingya are the Muslim minority in Myanmar, where many have reported being subjected to severe discrimination and brutality.
Last month, Thailand found an increasing number of Rohingya people illegally entering its territory.
Locals in Ban Chalung, Hat Yai district, Songkhla, yesterday reported spotting Rohingya people hiding in the forest. The local people were helping in the authorities’ search for the migrants.
A number of Rohingya have reportedly hidden themselves at various camps in Thailand’s forest lands waiting for illegal agents to send them to employers in Malaysia. After officials raided several camps, the agents left the Rohingya camps and many Rohingya found it hard to find food to survive.
At least 26 have already come forward to ask for help. However, many more are still in hiding.
“The Rohingya have told us their friends have not yet come forward,” Hat Yai district chief Seree Panichkul said yesterday.