ICC Note: Refugees who end up coming to Thailand’s Immigration and Detention Camp’s (IDTs) face shockingly inhumane conditions. A young Rohingya girl who was waiting and hoping for help to arrive was not able to survive and she had died in one of the Thailand’s IDTs due to internal bleeding. A Pakistani Christian man recalls all the struggles that he had faced in one of the Bangkok’s IDT’s. He explains that there were 250 people in one cell and that they had to sleep on the floor. Sometimes people had to keep standing until someone wakes up and allows them to take a sleeping space. Refugees already face tremendous hardships trying to escape persecution from their home country, the international community needs to put more pressure on some countries to drastically improve their IDT conditions.
11/17/2017 Thailand (Asian Correspondent) – FOR years, a 16 year-old Rohingya girl lingered in a tightly crammed cell with dozens of others in what human rights groups call “inhumane” conditions. Her situation seemed hopeless.
She didn’t know how, or when she would leave, or what her options were. Her only choice was to wait. Her name was Zainab Bi Bi—and she didn’t have long to live. Over the last three years all she knew was the inside of that derelict place. Left without proper medical care, or even basic health and hygiene needs, she waited indefinitely for something to change.
Change came – but not in the form of medical attention or humane care; it came in the shape of internal bleeding. On Nov 2, the young girl died a few days after collapsing in one of Thailand’s notorious southern Immigration Detention Centres (IDCs) from internal bleeding in her brain.
She ended up in Sadao IDC after she was trafficked from Burma (Myanmar) in 2014. Her desperate escape from persecution didn’t matter to Thai authorities, as they promptly detained her, sending her off with many others to the closest immigration detention centre.
Her only crime – seeking refuge from persecution back home, a place where very real atrocities are occurring on a daily basis.
Thailand’s mistreatment of refugees is well established, widely criticised, and heavily documented. Though it seems that conditions inside of Thailand’s immigration detention centres could be worse than expected.
Multiple human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, Fortify Rights, and Amnesty International all claim that conditions inside these IDCs are so inhospitable that they breach international law, and additionally violate the human rights of those unfortunate enough to live inside them.
Amnesty International says that Thailand, as a neighbouring country to Myanmar, should be active in assisting refugees, instead of punishing them further.
“It is shocking that Myanmar’s neighbours continue to lock up individuals seeking safety and protections after fleeing from these grave human rights violations,” said James Gomez, Regional Director of Amnesty International’s Southeast Asia & Pacific Regional Office.
“The death of this girl is another tragedy that underlines the failures of not only Myanmar, but also of its neighbours.”
Gomez continued to describe how severely uninhabitable these centres are, and how it appears Thai authorities are unwilling, at least for now, to improve the conditions inside them to meet international legal standards.
The hazards dwelling inside Thailand’s’ IDCs are not limited to sanitary concerns. Physical violence, malnutrition and overpopulation are so severe that detainees are forced to sleep in shifts, as there is simply not enough space for detainees to lie down at the same time.
Even those with UNHCR cards are not exempt from detainment in Thailand, Gomez told Asian Correspondent. He said more than 150 UNHCR-registered refugees and asylum seekers have also been held under these circumstances for years.
A recent report from Amnesty International cites that conditions inside Thailand’s IDCs are “appalling” and “worse than prison.” The report cites an account from a young man fleeing religious persecution, a Pakistani Christian; who went on to describe the struggle he faced inside Bangkok’s Suan Phlu IDC.