MYANMAR has said it will find away to resettle more than 2,000 Rohingya refugees who fled to Thailand after violent anti-Muslim unrest hit the country.
During a meeting between the countries' leaders held on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit yesterday, Thai Prime Minister Her Excellency Yingluck Shinawatra expressed her concern about the refugee situation which was the result of recent sectarian violence in Myanmar.
"We have the Rohingya in our country, they cannot go back to Myanmar and they cannot stay in our country. It's a big problem right now," said Thailand's deputy government spokesperson Parkdehans Himathongkom. The refugees, including 500 women and children, are currently being sheltered by Thai authorities.
Parkdehans explained that Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya as citizens of their country and questions loom over where the refugees will be resettled.
"The prime minister was asking what is the solution for them, and President (Thein Sein) said they are coming to a conclusion soon. So that is good news."
Myanmar's Rakhine state was shaken twice by anti-Muslim violence last year. In March, the deadly unrest between Buddhists and Muslims spread for the first time to central Myanmar. UN estimates say 650 Rohingya have been killed and more than 50,000 displaced.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned the violence saying the situation was tantamount to ethnic cleansing.
The former military regime considers the Rohingya illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and has denied them citizenship, even though many of their families have lived in the country for generations.
The communal tension has blighted Myanmar's democratisation process, posing one of the greatest challenges to President Thein Sein's reformist government.
Several Southeast Asian countries have expressed deep concern over the situation, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said his country supported Thein Sein's efforts to promote order and reconciliation.
"We support Myanmar government's efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice and we will address the matter in a way that is just," he told reporters.
Marty said His Excellency President Dato Laila Utama Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's trip to Myanmar on Tuesday was significant in terms of "locking in" the reform that was now underway, and both leaders recognised the need promote economic opportunities. The Brunei Times
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