(AFP Photo / Christophe Archambault)
The migrant crisis in Southeast Asia has gripped the attention of the world’s media. The human angle of these un-named thousands, on the open sea for weeks on end, has mved even the most experienced journalists. Agence France-Presse’s Christophe Archambault sailed out for an never-to-be-forgotten encounter with a boatload of migrants off the coast of Thailand. We reprint his blog by kind permission of Agence France-Presse.
By Christophe Archambault
KOH LIPE, Thailand, May 15, 2015 - For us this story began several weeks ago with the discovery of a mass grave in southern Thailand, thought to hold the bodies of Rohingya migrants smuggled into the country from neighbouring Myanmar.
The stateless Rohingya are one of the world’s most persecuted minorities according to the United Nations. Tens of thousands have fled Myanmar since communal violence broke out between them and the ethnic Buddhist Rakhine in 2012. Though the overall picture is murky, it is widely suspected that thousands are being trafficked out of the country on a route that runs via southern Thailand, where they are held by smugglers in squalid camps before being taken on, mainly to Malaysia.