|(Photo – Kritsada Mueanhawong/Phuket Gazette)|
January 31, 2013
The National Security Council (NSC) on Thursday insisted that Thailand would not set up a refugee camp for Rohingyas who had fled violence in Myanmar and arrived in Thailand’s southern provinces.
NSC secretary general Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr said that 1,400 Rohingyas are currently detained in various southern provinces after illegally entering the country.
According to the Thai immigration laws, the country would detain them for no longer than six months, he said. The country would assist them in humanitarian terms and would allow them to stay here on a temporary basis.
“We will neither upgrade the problem to international level nor open refugee camps to accommodate them,” he said.
“We have a clear position to help them on a humanitarian basis. As for the Rohingyas found on board boats in the sea, we will provide them with water and food but we will not allow them to enter Thai territory,” he said.
Paradon said Thailand is not a target of Rohingyas, adding that their destination is Malaysia. “The Thai authorities have already talked and asked cooperation from Malaysia. We would like the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to help us talk to Malaysia,” he said.
The Rohingyas are fleeing sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.