Reply of Thai Government on Rohingya to CERD committee of United Nations dated Jan 2014
- Thailand has been extending assistance to persons of different nationalities and ethnic groups entering the country who are in need of protection, pending appropriate solutions in compliance with applicable international laws and obligations together with humanitarian and human rights principles. Also, the country has been revising and improving its policies and measures in order to respond more effectively and appropriately to changing situations.
In January 2013, more than 2,000 Rohingya people travelled in an irregular manner to Thailand. Although their entry into the country constitutes illegal entry pursuant to the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979), Thailand designated agencies to supervise and make necessary arrangements to provide assistance to these Rohingyas in a systematic manner.
- Thailand has developed both short-term and long-term measures to ensure that the Rohingya issue is dealt with in accordance with humanitarian principles. Long-term measures are implemented by the Office of the National Security Council (NSC), the focal point agency for operations in relation to the Rohingyas pursuant to the strategy for the resolution of the irregular migrant issue as per the Cabinet Resolution dated 24th April 2012. In this regard, the information on this matter was presented to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva during the last verbal presentation of Thailand’s report in August 2012, during which the aforementioned strategy for the supervision of the irregular migrant handling was articulated and highlighted as being founded upon humanitarian principles. Thailand has been treating Rohingya immigrants in the same manner as displaced persons from its neighbouring countries, by relaxing certain rules to enable them to stay in Thailand temporarily, and subsequently encouraging and facilitating their return trips back to their countries of origin or to a third country as appropriate on a voluntary basis. In this regard, Thailand has been undertaking measures in tandem with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure safety of the Rohingya immigrants.
- As for short-term measures, all public agencies concerned have played a part in overseeing and providing necessary means in accommodating Rohingya immigrants. For example, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security has implemented various short-term measures, including the provision of shelter to the children and women, while the Immigration Bureau has placed male Rohingya immigrants on its mandatory supervision list and the Ministry of Public Health has been in charge of health among Rohingya immigrants. These official support arrangements have been supplemented by additional support from across the country from members of the public who have donated ample supplies of basic food necessities. In the same vein, Muslim networks in Thailand expressed their readiness to assist the Rohingyas and have also provided support. The expulsion of these immigrants to the areas of origin, where dangers and unsafe conditions may still be present, is not deemed practical, taking into account also the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to which Thailand is a state party. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been assigned to disseminate information and negotiate with the countries concerned, as well as with relevant international organizations, for the resolution of the Rohingya issue.