Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has stressed Thailand’s efforts to tackle the problem of Rohingya migrants throughout the entire system.
In his televised national address on 15 May 2015 in the program "Return Happiness to the People,” the Prime Minister said that the problem must be solved at both upstream and downstream levels.
As a transit country, he said, Thailand views this problem in terms of national security and humanitarian principles. Rehabilitation measures have been implemented to assist affected people. In the first stage, the country needs to take care of affected people, regardless of their nationality, before sending them back following the immigration process.
He said that Thailand did not want to set up any more refugee camps or shelters. But temporary detention centers might be established in order to handle the issue of illegal entry. Thailand has limited funds to look after Rohingya migrants, and it needs to bring this problem under control rapidly, with cooperation from foreign countries.
In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is scheduled to hold a special meeting on irregular migration in the Indian Ocean on 29 May 2015 in Bangkok. Senior officials from 15 affected countries, as well as international organizations and observers, will be invited to participate in the meeting.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Thailand has used both regular laws and Section 44 of the Interim Constitution of Thailand to speed up action on this matter. The Government has formed a working group to look into the issue at both local and international levels. All relevant agencies have been instructed to work together and set clear guidelines to deal with the problem. Officials involved in trafficking Rohingya people will face severe punishment.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon stressed the need for Thailand to hold talks with countries of origin and destination on the problem of Rohingya migrants. He cited this problem as a major issue, saying that the Government is serious about the fight against human trafficking. Warrants were issued recently for the arrest of people for alleged involvement in human trafficking in Sadao district, Songkhla province.
Thailand’s Trafficking in Persons Progress Report: January-March 2015 clearly demonstrates the Thai government’s steadfast commitment to fighting human trafficking in all forms. The Government has initiated measures to solve this problem at the root cause and mitigate risks in the long term. Centers to Solve Human Trafficking Problems for Women and Children have also been established to enhance victim protection and care.