Police officers in Malaysia have been arrested in connection with the deaths of more than a hundred migrants who had fled Burma.
Malaysia announced this week it had uncovered 28 camps deep in the jungle close to the Thai border, and 139 grave sites scattered around the area.
The country has seen a surge in arrivals of migrants, as refugees flee violence in Burma and Bangladesh.
The Rohingya – a Muslim minority from Burma – make up many of the migrants, having fled ethnic cleansing in their homeland. More than 3,000 migrants from Bangladesh and Burma have landed in Indonesia and Malaysia in recent weeks. About 2,600 are believed to be still adrift on abandoned boats, relief agencies have said.
On Thursday Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Malaysia’s deputy home minister, said that two police had been detained for involvement in the camps.
“Two police officers who are suspected of involvement in transporting the people from Burma have been arrested,” he told reporters in Wang Kelian, the Malaysia’s border town near the discovery of the camps.
It was not clear what they were accused of.
He also said several Rohingya who were already in Malaysia were arrested, for helping to recruit migrants to the country.
The arrests came as the Dalai Lama called on Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s pro-democracy icon and a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, to speak out to protect the persecuted Rohingya.
“It’s not sufficient to say: ‘How to help these people?'” he told The Australian.
“This is not sufficient. There’s something wrong with humanity’s way of thinking. Ultimately we are lacking concern for others’ lives, others’ well-being.”
He said he had discussed the Rohingya in earlier meetings with Ms Suu Kyi.
“I mentioned about this problem and she told me she found some difficulties, that things were not simple but very complicated,” he said. “But in spite of that I feel she can do something.”
She now says she never sought to be a human rights champion. Critics say that she is shying away from defending the Rohingya because it could cost her support if she runs for president.