Yesterday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Myanmar authorities to release 30 Rohingya Muslims immediately who were detained on 26th September for attempting to travel from Rakhine State to the capital city of Myanmar – Yangon.

The country’s police arrested the group of 30 men, women and children including a 5-year-old. On 4th October, after a one-day hearing, the Ngapudaw Township court sentenced 21 of them to two years in prison and sent eight children to a child detention centre. The youngest child is being held at Pathein prison with his mother.

“The government should lift all travel restrictions on ethnic Rohingya and repeal discriminatory regulations that limit their right to freedom of movement,” the HRW said in a news report.

“Myanmar authorities seem intent on persecuting Rohingya whether they stay at home or try to travel freely in the country,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “These 30 men, women, and children are being punished for simply seeking an escape from the daily brutality they’ve been subjected to for years.”

The authorities arrested the group for travelling without official permits and documentation after they arrived in Ayeyarwady Region through the boat from Sittwe township in central Rakhine State. The group was en route to Yangon, where they planned to seek work or attempt to continue onward to Malaysia, according to media reports.

The eight children were sent to a “training school” in Kawhmu township, Yangon Region, where their families will not be able to visit them. Radio Free Asia reported that “a decision has yet to be made” about the 5-year-old.

after the genocidal operation of 2017, those who remain in Myanmar are trapped in devastating conditions, with strict restriction on freedom of movement, right to earn and education.