Groups Say Thailand Sends Refugees to Sea
Hundreds missing after being left with little food or water
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 24, 2009 10:00 AM CST
Burmese Rohingya refugees are seen on a bus as they arrive for demonstration outside the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008.    (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
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(Newser) – Human rights groups say the Thai military is effectively sentencing refugees to death by herding them out to sea on boats with little food or water. Hundreds of Muslim refugees from Burma are missing, they say. Last month, 1,000 were detained on a remote island, then towed to sea and abandoned, the Christian Science Monitor reports. This week, 126 more were sent to sea, despite UN inquiries about them, says the BBC.

While hundreds of refugees have been rescued, just as many remain missing, the groups say. The Thai military denies mistreating the refugees, but Thailand’s prime minister is launching a probe into the matter, and the country has offered to host a conference on the refugees, the AP notes. Most are from Burma's Rohingya minority and have no legal rights in their home country. The Thai military has accused the Rohingya of fueling an insurgency in Thailand.