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Govt to investigate Rohingyas in Thailand


THE BANGKOK POST

Myanmar will send officials to Thailand to help investigate whether 2,000 Rohingya migrants now being sheltered in Thailand really travelled from Rakhine state, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said on Wednesday.

Migrants thought to be from Burma's Rohingya community are pictured on January 16, 2013, at a detention center in southern Thailand after they were rounded up in raids on hidden camps in the Thai south. (Photo: AFP)
Migrants thought to be from Burma's Rohingya community are pictured on January 16, 2013, at a detention center in southern Thailand after they were rounded up in raids on hidden camps in the Thai south. (Photo: AFP) 
Myanmar was unconvinced that all had travelled from Rakhine and believed some of them might travel from Bangladesh's  border area to Myanmar, the minister said.

Myanmar refuses to recognise most Rohingya as Myanmar citizens.

Mr Surapong said Myanmar Foreign Minister Wanna Maung Lawin told him that  Myanmar was ready to bring the Rohingya in Thailand back to Rakhine if the investigation found these people had really migrated from Myanmar.

"The Myanmar foreign minister told me that he would convey my concern to Myanmar President Thein Sein and after that he would send his officials to Thailand to probe the migration of about 2,000 Rohingya, about 500 of them children and women, as quickly as possible," he said.

The two met ahead of the Asean foreign minister meeting, which begins on Thursday in Brunei's capital.

Mr Surapong said he also asked Myanmar to help bring back refugees along the Thai-Myanmar border as he had information that some of them wanted to return to their motherland but they were  still concerned over their livelihood.

Mr Surapong raised the concern after the inferno that killed 38 Karen refugees at Ban Mae Surin camp in Mae Hong Son's Khun Yuam district on March 24.

This article first appeared in the Bangkok Post on April 10, 2013.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 April 2013 13:37 )