Pattaya Daily News

25 January 2009 :: 10:01:41 am 39281

Thai Pm: Unhcr Permitted To Meet Rohingya Illegal Migrants

BANGKOK, Jan 24 - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Saturday he has no objection if United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representatives wish to meet Rohingya immigrants who are being detained for entering Thailand illegally.
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The UNHCR earlier asked Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Ministry meet Rohingya boat people being detained in the Andaman Sea coastal region for illegal entry but, according to Mr. Abhisit, when he enquired of the ministry he was told that the UN agency had not made further contact to seek a meeting with the detained boat people.

The prime minister said the government is prepared to allow the UN agency’s officials to meet with the boat people so that it could gain a better understanding of the problem and help Thailand resolve the illegal migrants situation.

Thailand’s Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Veerasak Footrakul said Friday that about 20,000 Rohingyas are now in Thailand illegally, many having been smuggled in by Thai human traffickers connected with international syndicates.

Human rights groups and some survivors accused the Thai navy of forcing almost 1,000 Rohingyas back into international waters in the Andaman Sea on a boat with no engine and limited food and water supplies last month.

Thai naval and military commanders have denied mistreating any Rohingyas.

The prime minister dismissed the move by Jakrapob Penkair, former minister in ex-prime minister Samak’s office and now a leading organiser of the anti-government United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), to submit letters to enbassies of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries urging them to not attend the ASEAN summit which Thailand will host late next month,

Mr. Abhisit commented that the letters would not damage the summit as every ASEAN member had assured Thailand that they will participate.

The premier said he had spoken with chief opposition whip Witthaya Buranasiri seeking his cooperation in gaining opposition MPs help to approve international agreements to be ratified by ASEAN at the summit, as well as the government’s mid-year supplementary budget designed to help solve current economic problem and ease people hardships.

Mr. Witthaya, according to the prime minister, said he would raise the matters at a meeting of opposition Puea Thai Party. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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