Thailand says 126 asylum-seekers from the Burmese Rohingya minority who were detained by the military a week ago have been sent back out to sea.
The UN Refugee Agency asked to see the detainees three days ago, but never received a response.
Last month almost 1,000 Rohingyas were detained and then towed out to sea by Thai security forces in boats with little food and no motors.
Hundreds of survivors have been rescued, but hundreds more are missing.
Less than a month after taking office the new Thai government is struggling to manage a public relations disaster caused by the treatment meted out by Thai military units to Rohingya boat people last month. (BBC)
A PR disaster indeed.
The army first said : “no clear information” about refugees.
Two days after, it’s “we’ve sent them back already”…
It would be hilarious if it wasn’t tragic.
And in the middle, the Prime Minister is struggling… He has absolutly no power over the army (because he’s the puppet of the army), now it’s a public fact. And he feels the international pressure…
What can he do ? The emperor has no clothes.
Change with Abhisit ? Yes we can’t.
The Senate Committee on Armed forces has found that Thai military officers did not mistreat Rohingya refugees. […]
Prasong said the visit and the information obtained from several parties led to the resolution that there was no abuse of Rohingya refugees and their legs and hands were not tied up as a foreign media reported.
He said the military officers also provided the refuges with food and drinking water that was sufficient for a week and helped reinforce their boat before they were pushed out of the country. (TOC)
In a second article, J.Head from the BBC, gives more details.
For six days the military stonewalled the government – despite the fact that Mr Abhisit is officially the commander of ISOC.
The foreign ministry has struggled to explain to journalists why the government cannot say where the missing 126 boat people are, despite an official request from the UN refugee agency to see them.
On Friday, the government was bluntly told by the local ISOC commander that the 126 had gone.
No-one seems sure where, but the foreign ministry official I spoke to thought they had been pushed back out to sea.