Connect with us


Phuket Island View: Deporting Rohingya only feeds traffickers – Phil Robertson



PHUKET: The Rohingya refugees rescued off of Phuket on January 1 reportedly requested to be sent back to Myanmar, according to Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut.

Since Thai authorities systematically deny access to detained Rohingya for humanitarians, NGOs and journalists, it’s impossible to actually know what the Rohingya told the officials, but you can bet they were not given much choice in the matter.

What the Governor left unsaid was that the Thai government blatantly discriminates against the Rohingya by denying them the right to seek asylum and refugee status, and keeps UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] representatives away from them.

He also forgot to mention that the National Security Council has as a matter of policy categorized the Rohingya as a threat to Thailand’s security – although you can see in the destitute and desperate manner they reached Thailand’s shores that they are hardly a threat to anyone.

Now this group was sent to Ranong for a so-called “soft deportation”, meaning that they will be handed over to profit-seeking people smugglers who will exact very high fees from the Rohingya to move them to Malaysia, or failing that, will force them into labor to pay the fees – essentially a situation of human trafficking.

The so-called “help on” policy of Thailand then becomes a de facto “help out the smugglers” policy when Rohingya reach land, in some cases seriously compounding the human rights abuses against these desperate people.

Thailand should accept these Rohingya, give them access to UNHCR for refugee status determination, and provide them with assistance – just as Malaysia has recently done with Rohingya arriving by boat in that country. Thailand needs to stop its illegitimate “beggar thy neighbor” policy of pushing the Rohingya problem south to other countries and recognize that Thailand’s international human rights obligations require a better response than this.

Phil Robertson is the Asia Deputy Director for the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch, based in New York.


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Indonesia28 mins ago

Thailand teaches Indonesia how to legalise cannabis

Expats29 mins ago

A British musician bangs drums of discontent after breaking leg in Thailand

Thailand1 hour ago

Thailand to celebrate its 10 millionth tourist on December 10

Sponsored1 day ago

Challenges of starting a business in Thailand as a foreigner

Cannabis News2 hours ago

Homeowner beats cannabis thief to death in northeast Thailand

Thailand2 hours ago

British man who loves Thailand banned for 5 years for overstaying

Thailand2 hours ago

Thai rapper ‘Milli’ makes BBC 100 Women 2022 list

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime3 hours ago

Wife strangled to death by jealous husband in Chon Buri

Guides3 hours ago

Restaurants in Thailand that received 2 MICHELIN Star (MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2023)

Hot News3 hours ago

Koh Samui Christmas events lineup

Thailand4 hours ago

Another Taxi scam in Bangkok! | GMT

Thailand18 hours ago

Man arrested for spycam porn, 39 videos feature Thai stars

Thailand18 hours ago

Is poor English proficiency holding Thailand back?

Thailand18 hours ago

Shopee stops all bank payments after hackers steal from customer in Thailand

Thailand18 hours ago

Thailand News Today | CAAT warns Thai VietJet for canceling three Phuket

Crime19 hours ago

Cat killer feels no guilt over sadistic act

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11