OIC says protection of Rohingya refugees Thai's legal responsibility

Thai coast guards pushed Muslim Rohingyas back at sea in decrepit boats and abandoned them helpless and with no adequate provisions.

OIC says protection of Rohingya refugees Thai's legal responsibility
World Bulletin / News Desk

The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, expressed concern over reports confirming that hundreds of Muslim Rohingya refugees were feared missing and drowned in late December 2008 in Thai territorial waters.

The Rohingya refugees were fleeing oppression and dictatorial rule in Myanmar. Thai coast guards pushed Muslim Rohingyas back at sea in decrepit boats and abandoned them helpless and with no adequate provisions.

Ihsanoglu stated in a statement on its website, that "protecting the lives of refugees and preserving them from abuse is a legal responsibility that falls on Thailand through whose territorial waters the Rohingyas sailed. Thailand needs to provide care and protection to those refuges in accordance with the provisions of the 1951 UN Convention and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees."

He expressed concern about the fate of survivors, appealing to countries the refugees reached to provide them with urgent humanitarian assistance.

The Secretary General also appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to undertake an independent investigation and provide all assistance to the Muslim Rohingya refugees.

He emphasized the need for the Thai government to conduct, as promised by Thai Prime Minister, an urgent investigation on the circumstances leading up to this tragic incident and refer those found responsible to justice.

He affirmed that he will follow up developments of this matter with the Thai government.
Last Mod: 28 Ocak 2009, 12:25
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