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06BANGKOK2291 DPM SURAKIART PLEDGES TO RESOLVE SHAN TRAFFICKING CASE

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“61119”,”4/20/2006 10:12″,”06BANGKOK2291″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,

“UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,””,

“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

“,”UNCLAS BANGKOK 002291

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP, EAP/MLS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KWMN, KCRM, ELAB, PHUM, PREL, TH, TIP – Trafficking in Persons, KTIP

SUBJECT: DPM SURAKIART PLEDGES TO RESOLVE SHAN TRAFFICKING CASE

 

1. (SBU) Summary. Ambassador called DPM Surakiart on April 20 to

urge him to press for resolution of the long-standing detention of

six stateless Shan hill tribe trafficking victims in Malaysia.

Ambassador told Surakiart that this case has been an issue of

concern to us since early last year and is likely to be highlighted

in the upcoming TIP report. Surakiart said he fully agreed that the

victims should be repatriated as soon as possible and had instructed

the responsible Thai ministries to do so as soon as the minimum

criteria had been fulfilled. He said he had spoken to the Interior

Minister about the case two days ago, and would do so again late

today to urge resolution. End Summary.

 

2. (SBU) Ambassador called Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart on April

20 to urge him to press for resolution of the long-standing

detention of six stateless Shan hill tribe trafficking victims in

Malaysia. The Shan victims have been held since a Malaysian police

raid in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, in February 2005. A Thai Cabinet

resolution in June 2005 called for the victims to be repatriated to

Thailand if they could prove their prior residency in this country.

Despite such evidence being provided for most (if not all) of the

women, and despite numerous entreaties by national TIP authority Dr.

Saisuree Chutikul, the MFA and the Ministry of Social Development

and Human Security (MSDHS), the case has been held up by Ministry of

Interior officials who claim that Thai law does not provide for the

repatriation of stateless citizens. Lower-level Ministry officials

are also said to be concerned about the legal precedent that would

be established by following the Cabinet resolution\’s provisions.

 

3. (SBU) Ambassador told Surakiart that this case has been an issue

of great concern to us for some time now, and is likely to be

highlighted in the Thailand chapter of our upcoming global

trafficking-in-persons report. Ambassador said the USG was well

aware of the important strides Thailand has made in combating

trafficking-in-persons in recent years, and that we did not want

these efforts to be overshadowed by the failure to resolve this

particular matter.

 

4. (SBU) Surakiart replied that he was following the case as the

former chairman of the National TIP Committee who had pushed the

June 2005 resolution through the Cabinet. He said he agreed fully

that the victims should be repatriated as soon as possible, and that

he had instructed the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of

Interior to do so as soon as the minimum criteria of the Cabinet

resolution had been fulfilled. He said he had not been certain of

the number of victims involved, having been told by his staff they

could amount to 13 women. (Note: Embassy has been told by

International Justice Mission, the lead NGO investigating this case

since its inception, that the number is now six, after several women

arranged their release informally and returned to Thailand.)

 

5. (SBU) Surakiart said he further spoke to Minister of Interior

Kongsak Wanthana two days ago (April 18) to urge his intervention,

claiming that it was the first time Kongsak had heard of the matter.

Surakiart said Kongsak committed to look into the matter as soon as

possible, noting that yesterday (April 19) was a Thai holiday due to

senatorial elections. Surakiart told Ambassador he would call

Kongsak again today to check up on the status.

 

6. (SBU) Comment: This is not Surakiart\’s first intervention in

this case. Laboff previously spoke to PermSec Wanlop Phloytabtim in

the Ministry of Social Development on April 12 and was told that

Surakiart had sent an instruction to the Thai Embassy in Kuala

Lumpur to speed up the repatriation process and that \”he would pick

up the victims himself.\” The Thai Embassy had responded that the

Ministry of Interior still had jurisdiction over the case, echoing

the contents of an April 7 letter sent by MFA Director General

Nongnuth to G/TIP Ambassador Miller confirming that \”a special

commission\” had been set up at Interior. After several false

promises, we hope that the RTG finally cuts through the red tape and

repatriates these long-suffering victims in a timely manner.

 

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 11, 2011 at 7:49 am

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