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Thailand general against refugee camp

Jan. 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM

BANGKOK, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A military general from Thailand on Friday warned against the burden of setting up a refugee camp for Rohingya people from Myanmar.

Supreme Commander Thanasak Patimapakorn said Thailand would be fully responsible for the well-being of the refugees, should a camp be established for them in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported.

Currently, Rohingya refugees are being held at Thung Lung police station in Songkhla's Hat Yai district.

"It is up to the government to decide whether or not a Rohingya refugee camp is to be established," Thanasak said. "In terms of humanitarian assistance, we'll initially provide them with food and shelter in accordance to regulations, but in the long run they'll have to leave."

"Foreign countries want Thailand to help the Rohingya, but they don't offer to help us with it," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said the Rohingya refugees must be sent to other countries.

"The international community might see Thailand as being cruel if we turn away from them, but we must protect the country's interests at the same time," Chalerm said.

Sunai Phasuk, senior researcher on Thailand in Human Rights Watch's Asia division, has called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to press Myanmar and Bangladesh into granting citizenship to the minority ethnic group.

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