The fact that Thailand has on at least two occasions, towed boats carrying Rohingya refugees out of Thai waters and back onto the Andaman Sea, is more than enough reason to condemn the Thais on their violation of the humanitarian covenant, their lack of empathy and their utter disregard to displaced people.
Therefore, Thailand's attempt to hold a summit to discuss the plight of the refugees, has to be construed as a smoke screen to hide their apathy to the plight of Rohingya people and other refugees forced onto the Andaman Sea by religious persecution, social attacks, economic hardships and failing governments.
Earlier today, Malaysian boats intercepted a boat crammed with crying women and children and other refugees and migrants after the Thai navy had towed the vessel back to sea from Thai waters, Reuters reported.
Thirsty and sick, many of the displaced people on the refugee boat, had been adrift on the sea for a number of days after being abandoned by human traffickers fearing a Thai crackdown on smuggling. The boat intercepted by Malaysia today, had twice been towed back to open waters by the Thai navy, which reportedly made repairs to the vessel, furnished it with some water and some food before towing it back to the sea, damning the displaced to fend for themselves. "We fixed their engine and showed them where Malaysia is," a Thai navy officer was cited by Reuters in explaining the Thai action.
Malaysia also said earlier this week that it would push migrant boats back to sea as it did not want to receive large numbers of illegal migrants. Yet, thousands of refugees and migrants remain adrift on the sea as Thailand proposes a meeting for later this month aimed at easing the humanitarian emergency, the Associated Press(AP) reported.
But Thailand's planned meeting is not a solution to the growing humanitarian crisis of displaced person on Asian seas. Thailand's actions to send refugees and migrants back to sea contributes to the deepening of the problem.
Thus, any actions by Southeast Asian nations to push displaced persons back onto the sea, must be condemned in the strongest form. These nations that have at sometime or another received, or expect to receive, International compassion post natural disasters prevalent to that region, should be ashamed of their actions to these displaced people.
What Malaysia does with these new 'Sea People' is yet to be determined. However, all of Southeast Asia from Myanmar to Bangladesh, to Indonesia, to Malaysia to Thailand - they all have a humanitarian covenant to fulfill in carrying for these displaced people.