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Amnesty International Australia has joined with 93 other non-government organisations, which work on behalf of refugees and migrants in the Asia-Pacific, to condemn human rights violations committed recently against members of the Rohingya minority and Bangladeshi migrants.
The organisations are from such diverse countries as Bangladesh, Burma, Australia, India, Egypt, Malaysia, UK, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand, US, Zambia and Nepal.
In a joint statement [see link] the organisations voiced their concern over reports that the Thai military has forcibly expelled large groups of Rohingya who were seeking refuge. Hundreds of Rohingya are still feared missing at sea and an urgent search and rescue effort by ASEAN nations is required, said the organisations.
"It is imperative that Thailand and other regional countries provide all vulnerable Rohingya on their territory with humanitarian assistance and protection," stated Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia's Refugee Coordinator. "This includes ceasing plans to proceed with more expulsions and allowing individuals access to UNHCR."
The organisations called on the Burmese Government to cease the systematic persecution of the Rohingya minority, who must be recognised and assured full rights and protection.
"This tragedy requires a regional solution that ensures the fundamental rights of the Rohingya are respected and that those Rohingya who have a well-founded fear of persecution in Burma are not returned there," said Dr Thom.