Thailand deports 1,300 Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar
BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand has sent around 1,300 Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, a top official said on Thursday, dismaying rights campaigners who warned the minority Muslims faced persecution in the former junta-ruled country.
Thousands of Rohingya, described by the United Nations as among the world's most persecuted minorities, have fled sectarian violence in western Myanmar in rickety boats since 2012, mostly heading for Malaysia.
Many of those who arrived in Thai waters were locked up in overcrowded immigration prisons.
Thai authorities began deporting the Rohingya in September through a border checkpoint in the province of Ranong, national immigration chief Lieutenant General Pharnu Kerdlarpphon told AFP.