Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Fleeing Rohingya sent back to camps’

‘Fleeing Rohingya sent back to camps’

‘Fleeing Rohingya sent back to camps’

NEARLY 100 Rohingya Muslims were forced back to Myanmar’s Rakhine state after being detained at sea en route to Malaysia, police said on Wednesday, stirring fears of a fresh refugee boat crisis.

Three vessels carrying fleeing Rohingya have now been seized and returned to Rakhine over the past two weeks, as the monsoon season gives way to more favourable, if still treacherous, sailing conditions.

All on board the third boat were being returned to camps around the capital Sittwe in the central part of the state, where more than 120,000 people have been confined since intercommunal violence in 2012.

A photo in local media showed the group huddled on the deck in the baking sun, a scene reminiscent of the boat crisis in 2015 that saw countless Rohingya abandoned by smugglers in the Andaman Sea after authorities shut down trafficking routes.

They were headed for Malaysia when stopped by navy officers on Sunday night off the southern town of Dawei, Police Major Min Lwin said.

“They were all sent back to Sittwe on a navy boat last night,” he said, adding that the group, two thirds of whom were under the age of 18, would arrive on Thursday or Friday.

The plight of Rohingya Muslims languishing in the central part of the state has been overshadowed by last year’s mass exodus of more than 720,000 Rohingya from northern Rakhine.

Those refugees fled over the border into Bangladesh to escape a brutal military crackdown.

UN investigators want Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for genocide over the crackdown, but Myanmar says it was defending itself against Rohingya militants.

Desperation in the refugee camps across the border is also growing.

A repatriation deal has stalled, with Rohingya refusing to go home until their safety and rights are secured.

The stateless minority are denied citizenship in Myanmar and face severe restrictions on movement as well as a lack of access to work, healthcare and schools in what Amnesty International says amounts to apartheid.

One camp leader said under the condition of anonymity that they try to explain to people about the dangers of leaving by boat but many are simply too desperate to listen.

“We are losing hope,” he said. “Nothing has changed in the last six years.”

MOST VIEWED

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea