Pattaya Daily News

22 January 2009 :: 22:01:31 pm 39291

Pm Proposes Coastal Security Unit To Prevent Illegal Migration

BANGKOK, Jan 22 -- Acknowledging that there are several tens of thousands of illegal Rohingya immigrants living in Thailand, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thursday he had advised the navy, marine police and government agencies concerned to establish a coastal security unit to prevent illegal boat people from entering Thailand.
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Speaking to journalists after meeting with National Security Council officials, Mr. Abhisit said that national security, including the ongoing insurgency and related violence in the three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala  as well as illegal entry by the Rohingya boat people were discussed at the meeting.

The government has asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to explain to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the public the accusations against the Thai navy over the alleged maltreatment of Rohingya, said Mr. Abhisit.

Simultaneously, the root cause of the problem appears to relate to Myanmar, which must also be taken into consideration, he said.

Mr. Abhisit said he had ordered police and the National Intelligence Agency to investigate any Thai involvement in human trafficking and to also assess the setting up of a coastal security unit. Establishment of such a unit will help make operations more efficient.

The prime minister said he presumed there were human traffickers in Thailand and that concerned officials must take serious action against them because the presence of illegal migrants posed problems to the nation’s economy and stability.

Panithan Watanayakorn, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister, said it was believed there were several tens of thousands of Rohingya living and working in Thailand, mainly in the southern coastal provinces of Ranong and Phangnga.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry will cooperate with the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), concerned police units and international agencies, in particular UNHCR, in solving the problem, said Mr. Panithan. (TNA)

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Thailand ready to meet with foreign agencies on Rohingya migrants

 BANGKOK, Jan 21  – Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Wednesday that his government is prepared to discuss with international agencies regarding the accusations and concerns raised by human rights groups over the alleged maltreatment of Rohingya boat people, urging them to also look at the root cause.
 
Those agencies must also look at the root cause of the problem and the facts surrounding the accusations, said Mr. Abhisit, adding that his government is willing to cooperate with the international agencies and countries which are involved.

His remarks were made after UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) chief spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva Tuesday that the agency had asked the Thai government to give it access to 126 Rohingya boat people in custody in southern Thailand in order to assess their situation and determine whether any of them are in need of international protection.
 
“This follows our expression of strong concern to the government last week over allegations that large groups of Rohingya boat people from Myanmar were intercepted in Thai waters, towed out to sea and left to die,” Mr. Redmond said. 
 
UNHCR further said that 80 Rohingya boat people are being detained by Thai authorities on Koh Sai Daeng island in the Andaman Sea, and 46 more Rohingya men were intercepted at sea last Friday and handed over to the Thai military. 

“We are trying to determine where they are now, ” said the UNHCR chief spokesman.
 
Mr. Abhisit said he preferred that UNHCR first talk with Thai officials on how it could cooperate with the Thai government over Rohingyas entering the kingdom illegally.
 
The premier said he would tell the agency that work must be based on “cooperation and an appropriate rules” and if any agency has any doubts over the issue, the government is prepared to inform them.
 
A meeting with the National Security Council is scheduled to be held on Thursday, Mr. Abhisit explained, adding that he would order officials in the field to find out the truth on the Rohingyas.
 
Frustrated by migrants entering Thailand illegally, Mr. Abhisit suggested that registration allowing unlimited numbers of migrant workers into Thailand should not be permitted as it would cause “an endless problem.”
 
The government will later consider limiting the numbers of foreign workers to work in each area, he said.
 
Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya said the ministry’s permanent secretary will soon call for a meeting with countries involved with the Rohingya boat people issue to find ways to resolve the problem. (TNA)

   
Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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