What Has Become of the 126 Rohingya Boat People?By Bangkok Pundit Jan 25, 2009 12:05AM UTC
The UNHCR wanted to visited them to ascertain their condition and status, but well this “problem” has been avoided by the Thai authorities:
"These people have been escorted out of Thailand," said Thai Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Thani Thonpakdi.
On Tuesday the UNHCR requested access to 126 Rohingyas, members of a Muslim minority group from the North Arakan State in Myanmar, and said they should be kept in custody in southern Thailand to determine whether they were in need of international protection.
The request was made amid reports that the Thai navy had towed about 1,000 rohingya boat people out to sea last month and set them adrift on boats without engines or sufficient food and water supplies.
The reports, based on the testimony of Rohinghya survivors rescued by the Indian navy, suggested that as many as 500 of the boat people were still missing and believed drowned.
According to UNHCR sources, some 126 of the pushed-back refugees had been picked up in Thai waters and were under Thai detention, with 80 if them on Sai Daeng island in the Andaman Sea, earlier this week.
The Thai government had waffled over the UNHCR request to interview the 126 refugees, who might have shed light on the alleged atrocities of last month. It was unclear whether the refugees were still in Thailand.
But the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) has now made it clear that the 126 boat people had been pushed out to sea already, said Thani.
BP: Well, actually ISOC can say they were just following the Director’s orders.
Problem dealing with the UNHCR is now solved as according to the Foreign Ministry:
“All those who arrived illegally have been escorted out of Thailand,” Thani said.