It’s been described as crimes against humanity – back in 2015, Malaysian police discovered 139 mass graves in 28 abandoned migrant ‘prison camps’ just over the border from Thailand in Wang Kelian, Perlis, following the discovery of similar graves in Thailand.
The victims are believed to be Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshis – victims of mass human trafficking from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Thailand and Malaysia from 2012 to 2015.
Human rights NGO Fortify Rights’ and Suhakam’s investigations found reasonable grounds to believe that a transnational criminal syndicate committed crimes against humanity against these trafficked persons.
Though Malaysia set up a royal commission of inquiry, no report was made public, with officials calling it an official state secret – that is, until Fortify Rights revealed that the report recently appeared on the Ministry of Home Affairs website.
Among other things, the 211-page report found that the torture and deaths of Rohingya refugees and others in Wang Kelian “should have been prevented by the authorities” and that Malaysian enforcement agencies failed to follow their own standard operating procedures, significantly affecting the quality of their investigation into the situation in Wang Kelian.
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BFM talks to Patrick Phongsathorn, a human rights advocacy specialist at Fortify Rights about what the report details, and what actions they are calling for.
Produced and presented by: Juliet Jacobs