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    Thailand’s Human Rights Commission silent on Rohingya shootings

    Thousands of
    Rohingya have fled Myanmar amid the sectarian violence that erupted last year.
    Photo: Gazette file
    Phuket Gazette
    July 12, 2013
    PHUKET: Thailand’s
    Human Rights Commission (HRC) yesterday told the Phuket Gazette they were
    “unable to report” on their own investigation into reports of Royal Thai Navy
    sailors opening fire on a boatload of Rohingya, allegedly killing at least two
    of the refugees, in February.
    The news comes four
    months after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra promised the international
    press the allegations would be investigated (story here).
    “We cannot reveal
    anything about the investigation,” said Ketsarin Tiawsakul, director of the
    HRC’s human rights infringement investigation office.
    “For now, we have
    nothing to say. We will release information to the public as soon as we can,”
    she added.
    According to a
    report by the international agency Human Rights Watch, Royal Thai Navy sailors
    opened fire on the Rohingya off the Phang Nga coast, north of Phuket, after
    several of the refugees panicked and jumped ship.
    At least two of the
    refugees were shot dead, said some reports, while other reports quoted
    eye-witnesses saying as many as up to 25 refugees were killed in the incident.
    Two unidentified
    bodies were pulled from the water in the same area at about the same time as
    the alleged naval shootings.
    “The condition of
    the bodies made it impossible for police to determine whether or not the men
    were shot,” a senior Kuraburi District Police officer told the Gazette earlier.
    “In fact, we are
    not sure if the bodies were Rohingya or Burmese fishing boat crew,” he added.

    Although Vice
    Admiral Taratorn Kajitsuwan, Commander of the Third Naval Area, who is
    responsible for all naval operations along the Andaman coast, denied the
    shootings to Australia’s ABC News, he declined to comment on the story to the
    Gazette.