Malaysia Repatriates Thai Muslim Asylum-Seekers

Malaysia deported all 131 Thai Muslims who left their country last year to escape growing violence in southern Thailand. Many Thai Muslims say they fear their lives because of the brutal tactics used by Thai forces to suppress the unrest in southern Thail

Malaysia Repatriates Thai Muslim Asylum-Seekers

The Thais' deportation ended any concerns that ties with Thailand might be damaged by their presence in Malaysia, said Malaysian Law Minister said Radzi Sheikh Ahmad.

"No more issues. All have been sent back. Both sides are very happy," state news agency Bernama quoted Ahmad as saying.

The asylum seekers were deported late last year, Malaysian Attorney-General Gani Patail said.

It was not clear why both countries hadn't announced the repatriation earlier.

The announcement came as a surprise to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which interviewed the Thais while in detention.

"We, too, are in the dark," said UN spokeswoman Yante Ismail.

The 131 Thais illegally crossed the border into Malaysia's northeastern state of Kelantan on August 30, saying they escaped their home provinces in southern Thailand due to renewed violence, which killed more than 1,000 people over the past two years. The Thais were subsequently detained by Malaysian immigration authorities.

Malaysia is a mainly Muslim country, while Thailand is predominantly Buddhist. Relations between the two neighbors had been strained over the violence in Thailand's largely Muslim far south.

Many Thai Muslims say they fear their lives because of the brutal tactics used by Thai forces to suppress the unrest in southern Thailand.

Source: Reuters

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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