Business Standard

Probe launched into 65 Rohingyas found on Thai island

IANS  |  Bangkok 

Thai authorities have launched an investigation into how 65 Rohingya Muslims got stranded on an island in the in the south of the country, officials said on Wednesday.

A boat was found on Koh Rawi in Tarutao National Park, province, on Tuesday along with 71 people, including 65 members of Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, Police told news.

"We are now in the process of investigating whether they are illegal and during the investigation we continue to detain them," Nawee said.

A of Tarutao National Park, who wished to remain anonymous, said there were also five crew members and one Thai found.

Of the 65 Rohingya Muslims, 31 were women and five were children.

It was not known if the group came from Bangladesh, where thousands of Rohingyas live in the largest refugee camp in the world after a Army crackdown in August 2017 sent more than 725,000 fleeing from Rakhine state.

The NGO called on the Thai authorities to protect the new arrivals. "Whether these Rohingyas came from or refugee camps in Bangladesh, they're refugees and have a right to protection," Fortify Rights' said in a statement.

"If their boat wasn't damaged, Thai officials would have likely pushed them out to sea. Now, the fate of these 65 Rohingya refugees is uncertain," he added on

There have been many reports of Rohingyas attempting to leave by boat in recent months, presumably in order to reach Muslim-majority

Myanmar refuses to recognize the Rohingya as an indigenous ethnic group and refers to them instead as "Bengalis" who immigrated from

In 2015, boats loaded with thousands of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis bound for and were refused landing by authorities and left to drift in the Bay of and

Later, and offered shelter to 7,000 of the refugees and migrants.



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First Published: Wed, June 12 2019. 16:38 IST