PHOTO: VOA News
Thailand has considered the issue a “domestic” matter for Myanmar, and has also declined to recognise the Rohingya as refugees, leaving them vulnerable to persecution.
Thailand is backing the Myanmar government’s efforts to solve the long-running problem relating to the Rohingya in Rakhine state.
Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said, “[I] welcome the Myanmar government’s] sincere efforts to solve the problem in Rakhine State in a sustainable manner,” during a joint press conference with visiting Myanmar President U Win Myint Prayut on Thursday, when the two leaders read out a joint statement to media.
Prayut lauded the efforts to set up an Independent Commission of Enquiry and closer engagement with United Nations agencies. He also stressed Thailand’s “readiness to implement development projects to enable local communities help themselves in a sustainable manner”.
Win Myint, meanwhile, did not directly mention the Rohingya issue but said bilateral discussions had touched on “promoting peace in Myanmar”
The Myanmar military’s crackdown last year on the Rohingya forced hundreds of thousands of them to flee to nearby countries, including Thailand.
Thailand has considered the issue a “domestic” matter for Myanmar, and has also declined to recognise the Rohingya as refugees, leaving them vulnerable to persecution. The Myanmar government also encouraged their Thai counterparts to refer to the stateless minorities as Bengali, a term that would automatically imply their foreign status in Myanmar.
During a bilateral session with Prayut on Thursday, the two leaders also discussed about border development and connectivity, trade and investment, promotion of rights of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand, return of displaced persons as well as development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone.
Thailand promised to “continue to protect Myanmar migrant workers as per Thai laws and regulations”, Prayut told the guest, and also appreciated cooperation by the Myanmar government to expedite the national verification process expected to be completed by this month. Thailand is home to millions of Myanmar migrant workers and has implemented laws to secure Thai people’s jobs amid the influx of foreign workers but in the process it has almost barred those workers from working in Thailand.
Thailand last year enacted migrant worker laws that hand out stiff fines to aliens who are not registered with the Labour Ministry as well as to their employers, forcing thousands to return to their home countries. The enforcement of the law was later delayed to alleviate the effects.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha welcomes Myanmar’s President Win Myint at the Government House in Bangkok
SOURCES: The Nation