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THE NATION: Thailand not ready t
- Subject: THE NATION: Thailand not ready t
- From: suriya@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 25 May 1998 19:20:00
Thailand not ready to
sign UN convention
THE Foreign Ministry reiterated Monday
that Thailand was not ready to sign the
1951 UN Convention on Refugees because
it did not agree with some of the provisions,
a senior ministry official said.
Even though Thailand has not yet signed
the convention it has tried its best to
accommodate and look after displaced
persons on Thai soil for years, Norachit
Sinhaseni, director general of the
international organisation department said.
''We accept the principles of the 1951 UN
Convention but we think some of the
provisions are not appropriate for Thailand.
Anyway concerning the issue of refugees, it
does not matter whether we sign the
convention or not, we have sheltered them
for years on a humanitarian basis,''
He was speaking at a seminar, entitled
''How Universal is Our Response to the
Refugee Challenge'', held to commemorate
the 50th anniversary of the universal
declaration of human rights.
The provision that Bangkok would face
major difficulties with include the one that
allows refugees to legally work in the
country giving them asylum, Norachit said.
At present, Thailand is sheltering about
84,000 displaced Cambodians living along
the western border provinces.
Meanwhile, another source said that
another reason why Thailand was not willing
to sign the convention was because those
who are granted the status of a refugees
are given three options to choose from;
returning to their homeland, settling in the
first country that gives them asylum or going
to a third country.
''Bangkok wants to see the refugees return
to their homeland as soon as possible. So
providing the refugees with these options
can prolong their presence in the country,''
the source said.
Although, he added that a workable and
durable solution could be worked out.
Meanwhile, director of UNHCR's Division of
International Protection Dennis McNamara
said, at his opening remarks at the
seminar, that as a group refugees were
perhaps the most vulnerable to human
''Most refugees suffer rights violations at
some point; at the time they uprooted,
during refuge, or sometimes, even after
they return home. The very existence of the
50 million or so refugees and internally
displaced people around the globe today is
a barometer of the global lack of respect for
human rights in the world,'' he said.
BY MARISA CHIMPRABHA