Thousands of desperate Rohingya, currently adrift in the Andaman Sea, highlight the plight of a persecuted, stateless minority looking for a better life; a resented Muslim population in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. In the latest tragic news, police on May 25, 2015 said they found 139 grave sites and 28 abandoned detention camps used by human traffickers and capable of housing hundreds, laying bare the grim extent of the region's migrant crisis.
Rohingya have faced discrimination for decades -- denied citizenship, stripped of their lands, and attacked by the military.
In this photo, a Royal Malaysian Police forensics team handles exhumed human remains at a grave site near an abandoned migrant camp in a jungle at Bukit Wang Burma in the northern state of Perlis, bordering Thailand, May 26, 2015.
Graves in abandoned migrant camp
A Royal Malaysian Police cordon is visible near an abandoned migrant camp used by human traffickers in a jungle at Bukit Wang Burma in the Malaysian northern state of Perlis, bordering Thailand, May 26, 2015.
Malaysian police began the grisly job of exhuming dozens of graves found in a series of remote human-trafficking camps along the Thai border in the latest grim turn in the region's migrant crisis.
Graves in abandoned migrant
A small cage at an abandoned migrant camp May 26, 2015, used by people-smugglers hints at the desperate, brutal conditions experienced by Rohingya trying to escape Malaysia. Police began the grisly task of exhuming dozens of graves found along the Thai border.
Thousands of desperate Rohingya, currently adrift in the Andaman Sea, highlight the plight of a persecuted, stateless minority; a resented Muslim population in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. Rohingya have faced discrimination for decades -- denied citizenship, stripped of their lands, and attacked by the military.
In this photo, Bangladeshi migrants, thought to be mainly Rohingya, wait at the police headquarters in Langkawi after landing on the Malaysian shore, May 11, 2015.
Nearly 2,000 boat people from Myanmar and Bangladesh, many thought to be Rohingya, have been rescued off the coasts of Indonesia and Malaysia since May 10.
Rohingya women and children are seen after arriving at the port in Julok village in Kuta Binje, Aceh Province, Indonesia, May 20, 2015.
Hundreds of Myanmar's Rohingya refugees have arrived in Indonesia in recent days, many requiring medical attention. Thousands more are believed to still be stranded at sea, reportedly with no country in the region willing to take them in.
Indonesia and Malaysia offered to provide them temporary shelter, on May 20, 2015, after weeks of saying they weren't welcome.
A migrant receives medical assistance at an aid station in Kuala Langsa in Indonesia's Aceh Province, May 15, 2015.
Myanmar claims the Rohingyas are not a distinct ethnic group, but are Bengali migrants. The repression of this group of people has continued for decades, intensifying since 2011. According to the UNHCR, more than 120,000 have attempted to escape Myanmar by sea.
A Rohingya migrant who arrived in Indonesia by boat cries while speaking to a relative in Malaysia, at a temporary shelter in Kuala Langsa in Indonesia's Aceh Province, May 16, 2015.
Nearly 800 migrants were brought ashore in Indonesia, the day before; but other vessels crammed with migrants were sent back to sea, despite a United Nations call to rescue the thousands adrift in Southeast Asian waters with dwindling food and water.
A Rohingya child, recently arrived by boat, has her photo taken for identification at a shelter in Kuala Langsa, in Indonesia's Aceh Province, May 18, 2015.
The United Nations called on Southeast Asian nations to accept the boatloads of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and Bangladesh - men, women and children who fled persecution and poverty at home, only to now face sickness and starvation at sea.
A rescued migrant is carried to a waiting ambulance upon his arrival at the new confinement area in the fishing town of Kuala Langsa in Indonesia's Aceh province on May 15, 2015. Hundreds of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, mostly Rohingya, are taking shelter there after being rescued by Indonesian fishermen.
Washington raised the pressure on Southeast Asia to open its ports to the boat people on May 16, 2015, after reports surfaced of a terrifying battle for survival between Rohingya and Bangladeshi passengers and a shunned vessel sinking off Indonesia.
A man, who arrived in Indonesia by boat along with other Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants the day before, receives medical treatment in Kuala Langsa, May 16, 2015.
Nearly 800 migrants were brought ashore in Indonesia the day before, but other vessels crammed with migrants were sent back to sea.
An Indonesian Red Cross volunteer guides Rohingya migrants who arrived in Indonesia by boat to have breakfast inside a temporary compound for refugees at Kuala Cangkoi village in Lhoksukon, Indonesia's Aceh Province, May 17, 2015.
Indonesian immigration officers register a Rohingya woman, inside a temporary shelter in Kuala Langsa, in Indonesia, May 16, 2015.
Many Rohingya, thought to be descended from Muslim traders, live in Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in addition to Myanmar.
Adula Gawni, a Rohingya Muslim, in a refugee camp outside Sittwe, Myanmar shows a picture of his son, May 20, 2015, Marmot Ismai, who he claims is being held at a human trafficking camp. Ismai left the refugee camp with others on a boat to Malaysia four month ago, only to phone his family 40 days later telling them he was kidnapped and being held for a ransom of 4,000 Malaysian ringgit ($11,100). Gawni and his family already sent 2,000 Malaysian ringgit and 600,000 kyats ($6,000) for Ismai's release. Just a few days ago, the family received a picture of Ismai via an internet shop with the message that they needed to pay an additional 2,000 Malaysian ringgit for his release.
Rohingya and Bangladesh migrants rest inside a shelter in Lhoksukon, Aceh province, Indonesia, May 13, 2015.
Boats carrying over 500 of Myanmar's Rohingya refugees arrived in Indonesia, many requiring medical attention. Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim community have faced discrimination for decades; marginalized by Myanmar's mostly Buddhist population.
A migrant displays his ink-stained thumb and a document as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) processes paperwork on arrivals at their new relocation site in the fishing town of Kuala Cangkoi in Indonesia's Aceh province, where nearly 600 migrants, mostly Rohingyas from Myanmar and Bangladesh, were relocated by Indonesian authorities, May 14, 2015.
Malaysia turned away two vessels carrying a combined 600 migrants, an official who spoke on condition of anonymity said on May 14.
Malaysia turned away boats bearing desperate migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh unless they are in imminent danger of sinking, following in the footsteps of neighboring Indonesia's statements.
A Rohingya migrant cries as he sits with others in a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman, Sea, May 14, 2015.
The crisis emerged this month as governments in the region began cracking down on human trafficking. Some captains of trafficking boats abandoned their ships - and the migrants- at sea.
A Rohingya migrant eats food dropped by a Thai army helicopter after he jumped from a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe to collect food, May 14, 2015.
A boat crammed with scores of Rohingya migrants -- including many young children -- was found drifting in Thai waters on May 14, with passengers saying several people had died over the past few days.
Rohingya migrants swim to collect food supplies dropped by a Thai army helicopter, drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea, May 14, 2015.
A crackdown on human trafficking by Thailand led traffickers to abandon the migrants in boats or keep them for weeks or months at sea before trying to move them to land. Trafficking experts say Thailand is the center of a multi-million-dollar trade run by competing transnational criminal syndicates.
Rohingya migrants jump to collect food supplies dropped by a Thai army helicopter from a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea, May 14, 2015.
Rohingya migrants pass food supplies dropped by a Thai army helicopter to others aboard a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea, May 14, 2015.
Myanmar migrants and Rohingya Muslims are escorted by Thai police as they are charged in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, March 30, 2015.
Thai police said they charged 70 migrants from Myanmar and six Rohingya Muslims with illegal entry after they were arrested on a train bound for a southern province bordering Malaysia.
Ethnic Myanmar Rohingya refugees hold placards during a protest outside the Myanmar Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, March 11, 2015.
The Rohingya are the only ethnicity in Myanmar who are restricted in marriage, prevented from traveling beyond their village, and prohibited from building or maintaining religious structures and voting.
A Myanmar ethnic Rohingya Muslim living in Malaysia clashes with anti-riot police during a protest against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, outside the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur, August 3, 2012. Myanmar security forces opened fire on Rohingya Muslims, committed rape and stood by as rival mobs attacked each other during a recent wave of sectarian violence, a rights watchdog group said on August 1.
Tears roll down the face of an ethnic Myanmar Rohingya refugee during a demonstration outside the United Nations offices in Kuala Lumpur, July 16, 2014.
According to Refugees International, Rohingya in Myanmar are the largest stateless group in the world. They were stripped of their citizenship in 1982 and "forced to flee by violent military campaigns and sustained persecution since at least the 1940s."
Ethnic Rakhine Buddhist monks stage a demonstration against the presence of Muslim Rohingyas in Sittwe, the capital of the country's western Rakhine state, October 9, 2012. Disgruntled by international support for Muslim Rohingya in unrest-laden western Myanmar, Buddhists demanded recognition of their own plight.
Rohingya children walk past shelters inside the Kyein Ni Pyin camp for internally displaced people in Pauk Taw, Rakhine state, April 23, 2014.
Within Myanmar, Rohingya are confined to camps or their own villages.
A Muslim Rohingya child plays at Bawdupah's Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp on the outskirts of Sittwe, May 18, 2013.
The body of three-month-old Asoma Khatu, who died of fever and diarrhea, is covered with a piece of white cloth at the Kyein Ni Pyin camp for internally displaced people in Pauk Taw, Rakhine state, April 23, 2014.
Restrictions on international aid exacerbated a growing health crisis among stateless Muslim Rohingya in west Myanmar. In February, Myanmar's government expelled the main aid group providing health to more than half a million Rohingya, Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland (MSF-H), after the organization said it had treated people believed to have been victims of violence in southern Maungdaw township.
Rohingya women and their children wait to receive treatment at a makeshift clinic in the Thet Kae Pyin camp for internally displaced people in Sittwe, Rakhine state, April 24, 2014.
The Rohingya make up more than 80 percent of the population in Rahine with more than 100,000 living in camps for the internally displaced. They aren't allowed to leave the camps.
An ethnic Rohingya refugee is seen through the window of an immigration quarantine center in Langsa district, Aceh province, Indonesia, March 2, 2013.
The young woman was among nearly 200 asylum-seekers from Myanmar who were rescued by fishermen off the waters of Sumatra island.
Ahmed, 50, blind in one eye from lack of medical care, is surrounded by Rohingya families at a tented IDP camp on the outskirts of Sittwe, Myanmar, November 24, 2012. An estimated 111,000 people were displaced by sectarian violence in June and October, primarily effecting the ethnic Rohingya people who are now living in crowded IDP camps, racially segregated from the Rakhine Buddhists to maintain stability. Around 89 lives were lost during a week of violence in October, the worst in decades.
Camp for displaced Rohingya
Rohingya refugees stand at a crowded internally displaced persons (IDP) camp after sunset on the outskirts of Sittwe, Myanmar, November 24, 2012.
A soldier stands guard at quarter No.3 in Pauktaw township, that was burned down in recent violence between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya in Pauktaw, Burma, Oct. 27, 2012.
In the past few years, Rohingya were targeted by violent mobs of Buddhist extremists, leaving hundreds dead and sparking an exodus of more than 120,000 people, according to the UNHCR.
Destroyed village in Rakhine
An aerial view shows burned houses at a village near Myaebon, in western Myanmar Rakhine state, November 1, 2012.
As of 2012, 800,000 Rohingya lived in Myanmar. According to the UN, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.