A human rights campaigner has called for legal action against Thai officials suspected of selling Rohingya Muslims fleeing from persecution in Myanmar to human traffickers, Press TV reports.
“This is a very serious thing, selling people, selling human beings to another country for their own benefit; and therefore, there has to be some kind of accountability and justice” in favor of “these people who are sold,” Myra Dahgaypaw told Press TV in a Friday interview.
She said that the immigration officials of Thailand have “committed these crimes by selling the Rohingya people to Malaysia.”
Reuters news agency has conducted an investigation into the issue in three countries, saying in a report on Thursday that Rohingya refugees were removed from Thai immigration centers and handed over to human traffickers waiting at sea.
The refugees were secretly transported across southern Thailand and held hostage in heavily-guarded camps near Thailand’s border with Malaysia until relatives pay for their release.
Dahgaypaw warned that if nobody is held accountable, Thai officials “will keep doing what they are doing and they will keep doing so because they do not get punished.”
“This is a big concern for us. They are human beings like us and they do not deserve to be treated like animals or slaves, where they can be sold easily this way. So it is really a big concern and they need safety,” she stated.
Myanmar’s government refuses to recognize Rohingya Muslims as citizens and labels them as “illegal” immigrants.
They have faced torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar since it achieved independence in 1948.
Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by the Buddhist extremists. The assaults have been mainly carried out in the western state of Rakhine.