UNITED NATIONS, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Both the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) on Friday expressed concern over reports of shootings last month in Thailand of Rohingya people who fled unrest in Myanmar, a UN spokesman told reporters here.
"The Refugee Agency has asked the Thai government to verify these reports of shots having been fired as a Rohingya boat was pulled out of Thai waters," said Eduardo del Buey, deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, at the daily briefing.
"The Human Rights Office noted that the Thai prime minister has said that the government is investigating the incident," said del Buey.
OHCHR is urging the Thai government to "ensure that the investigation of the allegations is full, prompt and impartial, and that anyone who has committed a crime is brought to justice," he added.
According to OHCHR, the shooting allegedly took place on February 22 while the Thai Navy was transferring around 130 people from the boat they had arrived in into smaller boats.
However, Thailand's navy chief Adm Surasak Rounroengrom on Wednesday categorically dismissed the allegations that his men had killed at least two Rohingya migrants in the sea off Pang-nga province last month.
At the daily briefing, the UN spokesperson also noted that UNHCR is gravely concerned that people fleeing unrest could have been turned away and exposed to further distress in their search for safety.
Thousands of Muslim Rohingya migrants have fled the riotous Rakhine state of Myanmar using seedy barges to sail on the Andaman Sea with intent to reach the territory of a predominantly-Muslim country such as Malaysia and Indonesia where they would be settled as refugees under care of UNHCR.
But many ended up on the shores of Thailand's southern provinces where they would be given temporary shelter and finally sent off toward a third country.