After the violent insurgent activity in Southern Thailand, it is hardly surprising that Thailand is not enthusiastic about welcoming Muslim refugees. Thailand has the right to protect its borders.

But the UN High Commissioner in Bangkok says they have had complaints that the Thai military is confiscating refugees’ boats and either dumping people on deserted islands or sending them back out to sea with no food or fuel. That would amount to murder. It sounds unlikely to me, but there is no love lost between the Thai military and muslims.

Some Rohingya were rescued by India after being turned away from Thailand, and it is clear from independent reports that they were not treated well by the Thais.

One of the interesting things about this is that complaints so far have been entirely directed at Thailand, which already bears most of the burden of feeding, housing and clothing the huge number of refugees from the North and East of Burma. The UN is largely useless there, as they seem to be everywhere else. The root cause of the problem is the Burmese regime’s ruthless repression of minority ethnic and religious groups, with many thousands killed and millions displaced. But this has not resulted in world-wide protests or all night sessions at the UN.

Most genuine practical help for the Burmese refugees has come from the Thai government, and from independent community or faith groups, many of them Christian. One is the Free Burma Rangers. I love their motto: ‘Love each other. Unite for freedom, justice and peace. Forgive and don’t hate each other. Pray with faith, act with courage. Never surrender.’

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