Six Rohingya children have fled from a government-run shelter in this southern province’s Muang district on Friday night. A search for the children began at 9 p.m. after the Phatthalung Shelter for Children and Families contacted police and immigration authorities.
The six Royingya children, who were reportedly ages 9 to 12, were apprehended in Phatthalung earlier in the day for unlawful entry into Thailand. Immigration officers had taken them to the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security’s shelter for temporary incarceration pending an investigation.
There was no more information regarding the kids, how they got to Phatthalung, or where the rest of their relatives might be.
After dinner, the children allegedly made their escape. They grabbed a chair to scale the back wall of the shelter and run to a nearby rubber plantation. A bag and sandals were discovered at the plantation, while the rest of their possessions were left at the refuge.
According to Pol Lt Col Sombat, the search team searched for them on foot for more than two hours and was unsuccessful.
Police are collaborating with local officials and residents to help provide clues if they come across the escapees.
Many Rohingya Muslims go from Myanmar or refugee camps in Bangladesh to Malaysia, passing through southern Thailand. Most must pay employment brokers and people traffickers, and it is not uncommon for groups to be abandoned before reaching their final destination.
Rohingya Muslim persecution in Myanmar
The Rohingya Muslim persecution in Myanmar (also known as Burma) has been a significant and ongoing human rights issue. The Rohingya are an ethnic minority group residing primarily in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. They have faced long-standing discrimination and persecution, often considered one of the most persecuted minority groups in the world.
The persecution of the Rohingya dates back decades, but it escalated significantly in 2017. In August of that year, the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents on security posts. The military’s response was characterized by widespread human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, rape, torture, arbitrary arrests, and the burning of Rohingya villages. This military campaign led to a mass exodus of Rohingya refugees into neighboring Bangladesh, resulting in one of the largest humanitarian crises in recent times.
The United Nations and various human rights organizations have documented evidence of atrocities committed to the Rohingya by the Myanmar military, and many have called these actions “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide.” The international community, including the United States, the European Union, and other countries, has condemned the violence and called for accountability.
The situation remains complex and sensitive, with ongoing efforts by international organizations, governments, and human rights advocates to address the plight of the Rohingya and seek justice for the crimes committed against them. However, progress has been slow, and challenges persist due to political complexities within Myanmar and geopolitical considerations.