Sunday, 24 May 2015

Mass graves discovered in Malaysian migrant trafficking camps

Malaysian authorities said on Sunday that they have discovered "mass graves" in more than a dozen abandoned camps used by human traffickers on the border with Thailand, where Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar have been held. They did not say how many bodies were found.

"These graves are believed to be a part of human trafficking activities involving migrants," Home Minister Zahid Hamidi told reporters.

He said top police officials were trying to identify and verify "the mass graves that were found," but did not say how many bodies had been recovered. Similar camps and dozens of remains were recovered in jungle camps across the border in Thailand earlier this month, where Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar had been held by traffickers and held until their families could pay for their freedom.

The Star Online reported earlier that police and forensic teams arrived Friday in Padang Besar, a town bordering Thailand, where a grave was believed to contain the bodies of almost 100 Rohingya migrants. It cited an unidentified source.

The discovery comes amid an exodus of tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from majority-Buddhist Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and have had their homes and businesses attacked. Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, has said it’s making “serious efforts” to prevent illegal migration from its Rakhine state.

While asylum seekers are trying to reach Malaysia and Indonesia, a crackdown on overland smuggling rings by Thai authorities has forced them to travel by sea. Malaysia and Indonesia said last week that they will provide temporary shelter to thousands stranded on overcrowded boats.

Malaysia previously sent boats carrying Rohingya and Bangladeshis out of its waters after more than 1,000 undocumented migrants arrived on its shores this month. The government in Myanmar has denied any conflict in Rakhine state, saying the issue is one of human trafficking.

Sunday 24 May 2015


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