Human Rights Watch presses on Thailand to probe Thai navy’s killing of Rohingyas

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BANGKOK, 13 March 2013  The international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, has pressed Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission to investigate what it claims to be a killing of a group of Rohingya people by the Thai navy. 

The Human Rights Watch has confirmed earlier reports that the Thai navy shot dead a group of Rohingya asylum seekers. According to the organization, Thai Navy personnel forced about 20 Rohingya people, from a boat containing 130 of them.

One survivor told Human Rights Watch that the Thai navy shot into the air a few times and ordered them not to move, but some Rohingya people panicked and jumped off the boat. The navy then opened fire on them in the water, the survivor said. Four survivors were rescued by local Thai villagers and kept hidden from the Thai military. Villagers found two bodies. The rest of the group have never been found.

Human Rights Watch said the Thai government “should urgently investigate why sailors opened fire at boat people helpless in the sea” and “prosecute all those found responsible”.

Earlier this year, 97 Rohingyas were found dead after their boat was intercepted by the Thai navy, who removed their boat engine and left them afloat at sea for 25 days. No investigation has been initiated by the Thai navy to date.