Rohingya refugees will be treated well

BANGKOK - The Rohingya people who were smuggled into Thailand will be subjected to Thai laws but will be treated in accordance with international human rights standards, Foreign Ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol said on Friday.

Mr Manas, the Department of Information director-general, said the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN refugee have offered their assistance.

The government also intends to consult with Muslim leaders on how to best address the problem in the long-run, he said.

Sunai Phasuk, senior researcher on Thailand in Human Rights Watch's Asia division, said many Rohingya people are migrating because they have been denied citizenship in Myanmar and Bangladesh. 

Mr Sunai is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to press Myanmar into granting citizenship to the minority ethnic group. 

However, it might be difficult to pressure Bangladesh, which is controlled by a totalitarian regime, he added.

Asked about the UN's proposal for a Rohingya refugee camp in Thailand, Mr Sunai said it was more likely such facility would be located in Malaysia or Indonesia. 

Wisut Binlaatah, director of the Sheikhul Islam Office in the South, said the Rohingya refugees will be assisted in two phases. 

First, the Thai public will be asked to donate food and clothing. In the long term, the office will call on the Thai government to encourage Myanmar to address its ethnic conflicts.

Unless the situation settles and there is peace in Myanmar, Thailand should not look to deporting them back, Wisut added. He also asked all Muslim countries to offer asylum to the Rohingyas. 

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