Subject: News: Thailand calls for new solution to illegal immigration problems
From: Melanie Orhant (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Apr 23 1999 - 10:36:34 EDT
Does anybody know if this meeting addressed the issue of trafficking?
Thailand calls for new solution to illegal immigration problems
Thai delegate asks for lenient approach
The Bangkok Post, April 22, 1999
Thailand yesterday called on 18 countries of the Asian-Pacific region to
work towards a "realistic and compassionate" solution to the problem of
illegal migration in the region.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sukhumbhand Paribatra also called for "a sense of
He was opening the three-day International Symposium on Migration, which is
being attended by delegates from the nine members of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations-Brunei, Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam-Cambodia, Sri Lanka, South
Korea, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
"In good times, we can simply send migrants home whenever necessary, but in
difficult times we cannot send them home or away at will because we are
dealing with human beings and human tragedies," M.R. Sukhumbhand said.
He urged a concerted effort.
"We need to have a sense of shared responsibilities. We need to have a
vision which reflects enlightened self-interest.
"We need to be both realistic and compassionate.
"The time has come to address the problem in a concrete and comprehensive
manner through measures of regional and international cooperation," he said.
The director-general of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM),
Brunson Mckinley, agreed. The severe economic downturn had complicated the
situation, he added.
M.R. Sukhumbhand expressed hope the meeting would come up with concrete
measures and that the views and information shared would be of practical
value in regional cooperation and policy coordination.
Some delegates proposed the promotion of sustainable development in the
source countries of illegal migrants as a solution. They also emphasised
the need to recognise the sovereign rights and legitimate interests of each
country to safeguard its borders and to enhance its own migration laws.
To prevent and minimise illegation migration and curb labour trafficking,
Cambodia's delegate called on the international community to provide a
financial grant or loan to set up a rural development bank that would
extend loans to people set up businesses appropriate to their skills.
Laos said it would share the responsibility of irregular/undocumented
migration flow with its neighbours and international organisations in the
To help prevent irregular migration, Laos and Thailand had established a
joint committee for safeguarding border security and social order.
According to government statistics, there are only 1,261 legal Laotian
workers in Thailand, while there are 79,057 from Burma and 10,593 from
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