YANGON - More than 110 Rohingya have been sentenced to prison by a military-backed court in Myanmar for attempting to escape refugee camps without the proper paperwork.

The group, which include 12 children, was arrested last month on the shores of the Ayeyarwady region as they waited for two motorboats they hoped would facilitate the start of their journey to Malaysia. Sentences for the group ranged from two to five years, depending on whether they left camps in Bangladesh or Rakhine.

The children were sent to “training schools”. Local media reports suggest that since December 2021, some 1,800 Rohingya, including children, have been arrested as they attempt to flee camps.

“The charges against them for traveling without documentation stem from the junta’s own refusal to recognize Rohingya as citizens,” said Daniel Sullivan from Refugees International.

The Muslim minority group is not legally recognized under Myanmar’s 1982 citizenship law. This limits their access to basic services and freedom of movement. “The Myanmar junta’s latest jailing of Rohingya is a reminder to the world that the architects of the Rohingya genocide remain in power in Myanmar,” Sullivan said.