Refugee rights groups urge investigation into Rohingya shooting

Refugee rights advocacy groups are urging the Thai authorities to end the indefinite detention of Rohingya refugees and to investigate the extrajudicial killing of a Rohingya refugee by the police.   

The Migrant Working Group (MWG) and Coalition for the Rights of Refugees and Stateless Persons (CRRSP), on Tuesday, 24 May 2016, issued a joint statement, urging the Thai authorities to stop detaining asylum seekers indefinitely and to investigate the extrajudicial killing of a Rohingya refugee by police officers.

On Monday morning, a Rohingya escapee was shot dead by police. He was among 21 Rohingya refugees who escaped from a detention facility in the southern province of Phang Nga, where they had been detained for about a year. The police reasoned that the extrajudicial killing was self-defence.

As of now, six of the 21 escapees remain at large while the rest have been recaptured.

According to the two refugee rights advocacy groups, more than 400 Rohingya refugees have been detained in immigration detention facilities throughout Thailand for more than one year under the Thai Immigration Act, because Thailand is not a state party to the UN refugee convention.

“Many immigration detention facilities in the country are not appropriate for detaining refugees for a long period. Many detainees suffer from weakened muscles, breathing problems and digestive problems,” read the group’s statement.

The groups urged the authorities to release asylum seekers and allow them to stay in the nation temporarily before their transfer to a third country.

In addition, the groups demanded that the authorities investigate the officers responsible for the extrajudicial killing of a Rohingya refugee in accordance with Article 150 of the Criminal Procedure Code.