MUSLIMS FROM BURMA
Samak wants Rohingya put on an island
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said yesterday the navy is exploring a deserted island to place Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group from Burma who illegally slipped into the country from the southern provinces, especially Ranong.
Mr Samak said the relocation of the illegal migrants will be in the care of the Interior Ministry and the National Security Council, adding the resettlement of the Rohingya is a matter of urgency.
The prime minister made the statement after emerging from a two-hour meeting of the National Security Council yesterday.
”To stop the influx, we have to keep them in a tough place. Those who are about to follow will have to know life here will be difficult in order that they won’t sneak in,” he said.
Mr Samak said the United Nations (UN), especially the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), should step in and provide financial support to the Thai government which had shouldered the Rohingya burden for quite some time.
Although the Rohingya Muslims have nothing to do with the southern unrest, the influx must stop, Mr Samak added.
Meanwhile, Maj-Gen Peerapong Manakij, deputy spokesman for defence, said Mr Samak placed a greater emphasis on a non-violent approach to deal with the southern unrest.
Violence is not the way to deal with the unrest in the restive region. Instead, fair judicial processes and changing the mindsets of local people could reverse the trend toward deeper rifts within the multiracial region.
Maj-Gen Peerapong also said that the prime minister had agreed to the army’s request for a five-billion-baht increase in the annual fiscal budget allocation to improve the welfare of soldiers, especially conscripts.
The increased financial benefits for new recruits would allow them to earn up to the minimum wage.
“Keeping quiet while monks and other peaceful protesters are murdered and jailed is not evidence of constructive engagement.” – Arvind Ganesan, Human Rights Watch.
“I think…I think it’s in my basement. Let me go upstairs and check” – M.C. Escher
|29-03-2008, 11:03 AM||#2 (permalink)|