Fortify Rights calls for probe of Rohinya girl’s death 

  • Fortify Rights visited Rohingya survivors of human trafficking detained at Sadao Police Department in September 2014.

Fortify Rights visited Rohingya survivors of human trafficking detained at Sadao Police Department in September 2014. (Photo: Fortify Rights)

A Swiss-based rights advocacy, Fortify Rights, has called on the Thai government to investigate the recent death of 16-year-old Rohingya girl at a hospital in Hat Yai.

The girl, Zainab Bi Bi, died on Nov 2 at Hat Yai Hospital in Songkhla after suffering from a blood-clotting disorder.

The group said the Rohingya girl has spent more than three years indefinitely detained in immigration detention facilities and government-run shelters in Thailand.

According to their investigation, Fortify Rights said the Thai authorities detained the girl after she became a victim of human trafficking from Myanmar to Thailand in 2014

On Oct 27, she fainted and bled from her nose and ears while being held at the Sadao Immigration Detention Center (IDC) before being transferred to Hat Yai hospital, the human rights NGO said in a statement released yesterday (Nov 10).

“Zainab Bi Bi’s death is a tragedy that should spur Thai authorities to take immediate action to end the indefinite detention of refugees and asylum seekers,” Fortify Rights Executive Director Amy Smith said.

“Instead of receiving the highest level of care and protection as a refugee child, Zainab Bi Bi died behind bars,” Smith said.

The human rights group said currently, 16 Rohingya refugees—seven women and nine men—are detained in the Sadao IDC.”Thailand should immediately release all refugees and asylum seekers arbitrarily detained,” the statement said.

This is the second statement the Fortity Rights issued this week. On Nov 6, the group called on Thai authorities to release 35 asylum seekers from Pakistan and Somalia held in immigration detention following the raids in Bangkok on Oct 30.

At least 19 children were among those arrested in the raids, six of whom are still in detention, they said, adding that those arrested all hold documents issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), identifying them as “persons of concern.”

This prompted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to come out in defence of the Thai authorities’ operations.

The ministry said the apprehension of the Pakistani and Somali nationals on Oct 30 was a normal procedure in accordance with the Thai Immigration law as the group are overstayers.

“Meanwhile Thailand has consistently been providing appropriate humanitarian care to all groups of people, taking into full consideration of Thailand’s international human rights obligations,” the ministry said in the press release on Nov 9.

The ministry also insisted that there is no detention of children illegally entering or residing in the country.

“They are placed in shelters under the protective care of social workers of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. There are however cases where parents wish to keep the children with them at immigration detention centers. Permission in those cases will be granted only with a written parental request.”