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Thailand urged to let UN evaluate refugee status of Rohingya

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BANGKOK (AP) — Human Rights Watch says 59 ethnic Rohingya left on a Thai island after a dangerous boat journey from Bangladesh should be given the opportunity to determine if they are refugees. The mostly Muslim Rohingya have long been persecuted in Myanmar and many fled to Bangladesh in 2017 to escape a military counterinsurgency campaign that the U.S. and others have called genocide. Since then, Rohingya have attempted to leave both Myanmar and Bangladesh on perilous sea journeys to Malaysia. The Thai navy says it will follow standard procedures for the group detained Saturday. Human Rights Watch said Thailand was obligated to assess the people’s claims for refugee protection before trying to return them.

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