Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr has pledged to help Thailand solve the problem of Rohingya migrants now being detained in shelters nationwide.
Mr Carr said he had told his Thai counterpart Surapong Tovichakchaikul during talks in Bangkok yesterday that he offered assistance to Thailand in accommodating the problem.
Mr Carr did not discuss any details about how Australia might help.
More than 1,000 Rohingya migrants are being held in shelters across the country, including in Songkhla, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Kanchanaburi provinces.
The migrants are believed to have travelled by boat from Myanmar's Rakhine State in the hope of finding jobs in Malaysia or other foreign countries.
Some have said their destination was Australia.
Mr Carr's visit yesterday followed a visit by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to Australia last year to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the nations.
Thailand is a key Southeast Asian partner for Australia.
Mr Carr said his government would also provide an additional A$2.5 million (76 million baht) in humanitarian assistance to Myanmar.
This funding would include $1.25 million to Rakhine State to ensure adequate shelters and clean water and sanitation for displaced people; $750,000 to Kachin State to support provision of clean water and help prevent the spread of disease; and $500,000 to improve communication links with southeastern Myanmar.
He said the additional assistance would make Australia the second largest donor of humanitarian assistance in Rakhine State, bringing the total Australian contributions to $4.25 million.
He said he was concerned by the poor living conditions for displaced people living in shelters in Rakhine State.
He said the additional funds from the Australian government would be spent on providing emergency food to more than 100,000 people as well as tents and other shelter materials to about 20,000 people who fled their homes.
It would also go into providing blankets, clothes, mosquito nets, and other essential supplies for 40,000 Rohingya people.
More than 7,000 children who have been separated from their families will also be protected as a result of this assistance, he said.
A Rohingya man also submitted a letter to Mr Carr calling on the Australian government to intervene in the problem in Myanmar.
Mr Carr accepted the letter and said he would continue to raise this issue with the Myanmar government.
"We will press the case strongly and, in the meantime, we will make an extra commitment to humanitarian assistance," he said.
About the author
- Writer: Thanida Tansubhapol