Thailand allows UNHCR access to 850 Rohingya arrivals
The Thai government agreed to let the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have access to 850 ethnic minority Rohingyas from Myanmar, UN sources said.
"The Thai authorities have agreed in principle to give us access,"said Golam Abbas, UNHCR’s representative in Thailand. "We would like this to happen as soon as possible, so that we can jointly look at their immediate humanitarian and protection needs." Thai authorities have in the past refused entry to Rohingyas from Myanmar or Bangladesh, and on one occasion in 2009 pushed boat-loads back to sea in unseaworthy vessels, leading to mass drownings.
But Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra recently approved temporary assistance for a group of Rohingyas discovered hiding in Songkhla province, 700 kilometres south of Bangkok, until their status is determined. "We need to determine who these people are, where they came from and what they want," UNHCR spokeswoman Vivian Tan said.//DPA