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Thailand’s DPM briefs local officials regarding Rohingya refugees

May 18, 2015

DPM stressed local authorities practices for Rohingya refugees

PHUKET – The Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister has visited the Andaman area, following up on the progress of Rohingya refugees relief and on human trafficking issues while affirming that aid will be provided in line with basic humanitarian principles.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Gen Prawit Wongsuwon today made his remark after attending the meeting on the Rohingya refugees issue’ strategy briefing at the Third Naval Area Command Center in Phuket. He said that operations will be carried out in two parts, namely through land and at sea.

On land, including operations such as the discovery of the Rohingya camp in Songkhla province, the DMP updated that arrest warrants have been issued for 65 suspects, a number of these suspects include government officials. 28 suspects have already been arrested, while other suspects have contacted authorities to surrender themselves.

By sea, including efforts that led to identifying Rohingya vessel on the Andaman sea, the DPM elaborated that the refugees on board will be informed by Thai officials whether they want to enter the Thai waters or stay outside.

If the refugees decide to enter the Thai waters, he said that they will be prosecuted by law as illegal immigrants. However if they decide to continue on to the third country, the Thai authorities will provide engine maintenance, fuel, foods, drinks, and medicine required to the refugees. Refugees who are in critical conditions will immediately be taken ashore for medical treatment.

The DPM said that he has given the principles for the Local officials have been briefed on the government’s principles, to regulate all actions on the Rohingya refugees to be fair, just, and to suppress human trafficking activities in the area.

Refugee centers will not be established as for now, but immigration officials have been appointed to allocate proper locations for the detention centers.

About one thousand Rohingya refugees under Thai care cannot be deported back to the country of origin nor the third country. On this issue, the DPM said UNHCR has voiced its intention to provide support and care for these unfortunate refugees.

He also added that the Rohingya issue is not a big problem, but it is a problem that needs to be solved, and Thailand is wiling to help, based on humanity principles, rule of law, and international conduct. However, Thai officials have confirmed that there no remaining Rohingya vessels in Thai waters.

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