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Caritas Thailand to help the Rohingya fleeing violence and persecution



11Sept.2013: Caritas Thailand is continuing to help the Rohingya - Burmese Muslims fleeing violence and persecution. With the end of the monsoon season and improved sea conditions, Caritas Thailand has warned that a mass exodus of minority Rohingya Muslims could resume on the country's coasts. Although Bangkok has repeatedly branded the refugees as "illegal immigrants," leaving them in the open sea, or repatriating them to Myanmar with the risk of renewed persecution, Catholic volunteers have instead launched a number of assistance and relief programmes.
Caritas Thailand secretary general Fr Sriparasert said that the Rohingya are a "burning issue" issue for the Thai government and for "all the nations of South East Asia." Many of the refugees have sought asylum in Malaysia, a country with a large Muslim majority, where they hope to be treated better than in Bangladesh or Thailand. To date, Fr Sriparasert told Catholic News Agency (CNA), "more than 2,000 Rohingya are being held in different centres" scattered throughout Thailand. He said in many cases they are deprived of basic rights guaranteed by the International Convention on Refugees. For this reason, Caritas Thailand, in collaboration with the Catholic Office for Emergency Relief and Services (COERR), has undertaken a series of initiatives that include health support, nutrition and social development in various diocesan centres.
According to United Nations estimates, there are at least 800,000 Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Source: Asianews




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