Human Rights Watch’s May 1st story about the discovery of 30 Rohingya buried in mass graves in Thailand is the latest in the hundreds of instances each year highlighting the continual persecution of this group from Myanmar/Burma that the country refuses to acknowledge or assist. (http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/05/01/thailand-mass-graves-rohingya-found-trafficking-camp)
“Each year, tens of thousands of Rohingya flee the dire human rights situation in Burma only to be further abused and exploited at the hands of traffickers in Thailand,” HRW’s Asia Director Brad Adams said. “The discovery of these mass graves should shock the Thai government into shutting down the trafficking networks that enrich officials but prey on extremely vulnerable people. Instead of sticking Rohingya in border camps or immigration lockups, the government should provide safety and protection.”
The 30 who were found had starved to death or died of disease “while held by traffickers who were awaiting payment of ransoms before smuggling them into Malaysia. Traffickers controlling this camp apparently departed into the mountainous jungle, taking surviving Rohingya with them.”
Look at that photo. That stick wrapped in plastic is a person.
Rescue workers transport one of the bodies found at an abandoned camp in Thailand's southern Songkhla province on May 1, 2015. © 2015 Reuters
Human trafficking is something that Thailand seems to excel at, but what concerns me here is Myanmar, the country from which these people come and whose highest-ranking officials, including the Buddhist clergy, have waged an open genocidal war against their own citizens who they will now not even grant basic human rights. “They’re Bangladeshi,” says Myanmar of these Myanmar-born Muslims who have never even set foot in Bangladesh, nor have their parents. That’s like the US saying that everyone whose ancestors came from somewhere else will be denied social services, voting rights, employment, health care or housing. Plus, Catholic priests and Protestant ministers get to lead vicious attacks on groups of these non-citizens, beating the crap out of them, killing them, rounding them up and throwing them into camps and leaving them to die. No wonder the Rohingya take their chances with Thai traffickers, who sound downright cuddly in comparison.
When you do a Google search of “Rohingya Killed in Myanmar 2014,” this is what you come up with, all in a row:
· Rohingya Muslims feared killed in new Burma Rakhine State
· Burma violence: UN calls for Rohingya deaths inquiry - BBC
· 28+Myanmar Rohingya Muslims Killed by Buddhists
· Two-child limit on Myanmar Rohingya draws criticism
· U.N.: Dozens of Muslims massacred by Buddhists in Burma
· 4,000 Muslim Rohingyas killed, 8,000 missing in Myanmar
· Rohingya Muslims considered by UN to be one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
· How The World Is Ignoring Myanmar's Potential Genocide
· Burma: End 'Ethnic Cleansing' of Rohingya Muslims
And that’s just the first page.
When I wonder why the world isn’t paying attention, I remind myself that it’s scarier to think that the world is paying attention . . . and it just does not care.