Wednesday, June 19, 2013

South Thailand Villagers Protest Against Rohingya Refugee Camp Construction

BANGKOK, June 19 (Bernama) -- Villagers of a southern Thailand province are currently protesting against the planned construction of a temporary camp for Rohingya migrants in their neighbourhood, China's Xinhua news agency reported quoting police as saying.

An estimated 5,000 villagers of Cha-uad district in Nakorn Sri Thammarat province have signed up a petition in protest of the government's plan to build the camp for Rohingya refugees, who may have fled a sectorial strife inside Myanmar's Rakhine state by boat sailing toward Thai waters in the Andaman Sea.

The planned site for the camp to accommodate thousands of refugees is inside the compound of the 427th Border Patrol Company which lies in proximity of the localschools and villages, according to the Cha-uad protesters.

The local villagers feared that Rohingya migrants might carry epidemics and other diseases as well as jeopardise their safety and livelihood.

However, Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Prasopdee is scheduled to visit the area where the planned refugee camp is located and meet with the protesters on Friday in a bid to solve the problem.

The Muslim Rohingya "boat people", including children and elderly persons, had earlier landed on shore in southern Thailand, exhausted and underfed, sickly and desperately looking for a third country to settle down. Thai authorities provided the migrants with food and temporary shelter before finally sending them off to the sea.

While some of the Rohingyas were taken care of by Thai authorities and southern villagers purely on humanitarian basis, others were reported to have been robbed, assaulted and killed by suspected human traffickers.

-- BERNAMA