BANGKOK – The Thai Government will take care of Rohingya Muslims in accordance with humanitarian principles, pending an upcoming discussion with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on further assistance for the Rohingya ethnics from Myanmar.
Yingluck told journalists at Bangkok’s Government House on Tuesday that a clear measure to further assist the Rohingya Muslims is expected after the forthcoming talks between Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and UNHCR.
Thai News Agency (TNA) reported that the prime minister’s remarks followed an arrest by local authorities earlier in the day of hundreds of Rohingya Muslims, some carrying infants with them, for illegal entry into Thailand’s southern Songkhla Province, initially assumed to be victims of a human trafficking gang and destined to neighbouring Malaysia.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung then vowed that all those who are found guilty behind the illegal entry of the Rohingya Muslims will be prosecuted.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General of the National Security Council Lieutenant General Paradorn Pattanathabutr acknowledged that the Departments of Special Investigation or DSI and Immigration are finding out whether the illegal entry of the Rohingya Muslims has involved a human trafficking network or a cross-border labour immigration, and that the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security is taking care of the Rohingya ethnics, who include women and children.
Meanwhile, Chief of the DSI’s anti-human trafficking centre Police Lieutenant Colonel Paisit Sungkahapong said that Thai authorities concerned are separating the Rohingya Muslims who were victims of a human trafficking gang from those who voluntarily entered Thailand illegally for jobs.
Paisit said that the latter will be prosecuted while the former will be assisted.
DSI Director-General Tharit Pengdit expressed his disagreement with a proposed deportation of the Rohingya Muslims to their home country, reasoning that they could, again, sneak into the Thai territory by illegal labour brokers.
He recommended that it should be best for Thailand to coordinate with the UN to send them to third countries. –Bernama