Nationalities of Muslim migrants to be urgently verified


BANGKOK, Mar 20 –  Two international organisations have been asked to visit Thailand’s southern province of Songkhla to verify the origins of 218 Muslim migrants detained there, a senior Thai official said.

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the Thai government has contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organisation for Migration to jointly take care of the illegal migrants.

Thai authorities believed the migrants to be Uighurs, an ethnic Muslim minority from Xinjiang region of China.

Turkey and China have intended to join the nationality verification process.

Mr Surapong said Thailand has strictly followed humanitarian principles in dealing with the migrants.

Thai officials were instructed to treat the migrants carefully and their safety must be taken into consideration in deporting them to their countries of origin, he said.

The nationality verification process should be hastened and completed as soon as possible, he said.