(London Post – PR) : The government of Malaysia has claimed to know nothing about traffickers’ camps revealed in the country’s northern border, which held thousands of persecuted Burmese Rohingya and show signs of torture and mass graves. Yet research from equality organisation, the Equal Rights Trust highlights this shock is merely a mask.
“The Malaysian government has a great deal to answer for, they undoubtedly knew, by no later than 2010, that Burmese Rohingya were being regularly trafficked across the Malaysia-Thailand border,” said Equal Rights Trust Executive Director, Dimitrina Petrova. She continued, “What is worse, is that the government failed to act on credible reports on the involvement of their own immigration officials in these practices. No one can know how many lives would have been saved if they had acted before now.” In 2010, the Equal Rights Trust published, Trapped in the Cycle of Flight: Stateless Rohingya in Malaysia, which included testimony from trafficked Rohingya who stated that Malay police and immigration officials would “deport” Rohingya into the hands of traffickers in exchange for cash.
In the report, testimony from survivors described the appalling torture, extortion, and sale into bonded labour taking place in the Malaysian camps. Once in Thailand, the traffickers demanded payment and if that was received, Rohingya were trafficked back into Malaysia, their destination of choice, only in order to be soon re-arrested, detained in camps, and deported again into the hands of traffickers. If they could not pay, they were sold into bonded labour in plantations and on shipping boats, an ordeal which few survived.