New-York based Human Rights Watch on June 3 called for the Thai government to immediately end the “detention under inhumane conditions” of more than 1,700 Rohingya boatpeople.
The statement comes following shocking video footage of Rohingya locked up in an overcrowded immigration facility in Thailand’s Phang Nga province, which was shown on ITN Channel 4 News on May 31, 2013.
Filmed secretly, the footage shows a detention cell, which usually holds between five and 15 detainees, crammed with 276 Rohingya men who had arrived or washed up on Thai shores while trying to escape religious persecution in Myanmar.
Human Rights Watch urged the Thai authorities to transfer the asylum seekers to the UNHCR for screening and shelter.
“Thailand should respect the basic rights of Rohingya ‘boat people’ and stop detaining them in horrific conditions,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should immediately allow them to pursue their asylum claims with the UN refugee agency.”
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