Muslim Rohingyan refugees from Myanmar try to break out a Thai detention centre to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. Photo: EPA
August 16, 2013
Thailand has urged Myanmar to bring back home a number of Rohingya migrants who had illegally entered Thailand since the last several months.
Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul called on his Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin Wednesday to take steps to repatriate an estimated 1,700 Rohingya refugees who had fled fighting inside Rakhine state.
The refugees sailed dilapidated boats in the Andaman Sea and disembarked in Thailand’s southern coastal provinces since earlier this year.
The Thai government’s latest move apparently followed the recent event in which 261 Rohingya migrants had escaped from the compound of the Thai Immigration Police’s office in Pang-nga province where they had been detained, pending deportation back to Myanmar.
Surapong said he will also meet with representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to suggest that the international agency help take care of the Muslim Rohingyas inside Myanmar or find a third country for them to settle down.
He added that the Thai Interior Ministry will work in place of the Immigration Police to provide temporary shelter for the Rohingyas.
Thailand has no policy to give permanent shelter or lodging to those migrants who may have fled sectarian violence in their native land. It allows them to stay in Thai territory purely on temporary and humanitarian basis, according to the Thai foreign minister.