Thailand willing to shelter Rohingya
Bangkok says it will offer refuge for six months
BANGKOK - In a partial policy shift, Thailand says it will shelter Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar for six months, becoming the second Asean nation after Malaysia to take them in.
Once criticised for its harsh policy of turning back Rohingya or deporting them, Bangkok is conscious of its international reputation, a senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confided.
Thailand will now lend a helping hand while the government consults with international agencies and third countries about what to do with the Rohingya in the long term.
Bangkok is also keen to avoid any incidents which may result in a downgrade on the US State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report later this year. It is now on the TIP report's Tier2 Watch List. A demotion to Tier3 would trigger sanctions which both Bangkok and Washington, which are close allies, want to avoid.