Reports on Boat with Migrants Found Near Satun Province
The Government Public Relations Department, Office of the Prime Minister on 16 May 2015:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a press release regarding reports about a vessel comprising around 300 migrants drifting in Thai territorial waters along the Thai-Malaysian coast, near the southern province of Satun.
According to the release, upon being notified, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed the Royal Thai Navy to inspect the situation and inform the vessel that Thailand was ready to provide humanitarian assistance if so needed.
However, the people on board informed the Thai side that they did not wish to disembark on Thailand and that the sea current had pushed them into Thai territorial water. They requested for food, drinking water, and fuel, which Thailand duly provided according to humanitarian principles.
The problem of irregular migration in the Indian Ocean has become more complex, affecting many countries and demands a multi-faceted and internationally-coordinated approach. The Royal Thai Government will, therefore, organize the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean on 29 May 2015 in Bangkok.
The special meeting is an urgent call for the region to comprehensively work together to address the unprecedented increase of irregular migration across the Bay of Bengal in recent years.
The one-day meeting will be attended by senior officials from 15 affected countries, such as Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, and observers including the United States, as well as relevant international organizations: the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that on 15 May 2015, Mr. John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, called his counterpart, General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand.
In his telephone conservation with General Tanasak, Mr. Kerry expressed his appreciation for Thailand’s continuous efforts in helping displaced persons and refugees. He also expressed his appreciation for Thailand’s initiative in hosting the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean on 29 May 2015 in Bangkok, and affirmed attendance of senior U.S. representatives.
General Tanasak affirmed Thailand’s policy commitment toward assisting displaced persons on humanitarian consideration and said that Thailand would not push them back. He also informed Secretary Kerry regarding a vessel carrying around 300 migrants drifting in Thai territorial water near Satun province.
General Tanasak informed Secretary Kerry about the policy initiative to provide temporary shelters for migrants that it was being prepared for necessary situations in accordance with humanitarian principles within the bounds of Thai laws. It was important to keep monitoring the situation closely in order not to send out wrong signals to those without emergency needs, who might take the opportunity to enter Thailand illegally.
For more information and updates about Thailand’s policies and actions against trafficking in persons and related issues, visit www.thaianti-humantraffickingaction.org