SONGKHLA : Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul will visit Myanmar this month to discuss a solution to the recent influx of Rohingya illegal migrants.
The move follows Deputy Foreign Minister Jullapong Nonsrichai's unsuccessful visit to the country last month.
Mr Jullapong was told that the Myanmar government could not be certain whether the Rohingya migrants being held in Thailand had originated from Myanmar's Rakhine state or from Bangladesh, Mr Surapong said.
He said talks with Myanmar would have to be sped up as the government has set a six-month timeframe to provide temporary shelter for the more than 1,400 Rohingya migrants who have entered Thailand illegally.
Mr Surapong on Thursday led 15 ambassadors and diplomats from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries to visit Rohingya women and children at a temporary shelter in Songkhla province.
"We want OIC member countries to help these Rohingya migrants and cooperate with the Thai government to talk with their country of origin to resolve this problem speedily," Mr Surapong said. He is planning to talk with the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) to help verify the migrants' nationality.
Other organisations, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), are expected to be involved in solving the issue.
Mr Surapong also plans to invite Thailand-based European Union ambassadors to visit Rohingya migrants as the EU has expressed concern over human rights abuses.
Meanwhile, another 12 Rohingya migrants were found near a forest in Songkhla's Hat Yai district yesterday.
The Rohingya emerged from the forest at Khok Khilek village in tambon Chalung yesterday and were spotted by local residents who later took them to a nearby mosque. Twenty-three other Rohingya rescued earlier by local residents were already staying at the mosque.
A source said police would take all 35 Rohingya now staying at the mosque to an immigration office in Sadao district.
In Trang, officials at a welfare home where 13 Rohingya migrants are staying have complained that the migrants are refusing to follow house rules and forcing staff to carry out chores like cooking and cleaning.
About the author
- Writer: Thanida Tansubhapol