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Tell Thailand to Grant UN Access to Detained Rohingya Refugees

This petition had 280 supporters

53 Rohingya "boat people" have been detained in isolated Thai prisons since 2009. Their crime? Fleeing brutal persecution in their homeland of Burma. In late January, Thailand nabbed another 158 Rohingya who had survived a harrowing journey on ramshackle home-made boats. Thai officials threw them directly into prison.

Despite the known mistreatment of Rohingya in Burma, the Thai government is refusing to recognize the migrants as refugees. Worse, they are blocking the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from visiting the detained Rohingya, thus sequestering them from any legal defense or opportunity for protection.

Under international law, any migrant who can demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution must be granted refugee or asylum status, which offers ongoing protection in a new land. Burma's oppressive military regime has repeatedly cleansed its country of ethnic groups like the Rohingya--so the detainees' eligibility for refugee status is, in all likelihood, a no brainer.

Tell Thailand it needs to measure up to the basic principles of human rights when it comes to immigration and refugee protection. For starters, Thailand should give the United Nations access to the detained migrants. What are they so afraid of?

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