Alor Setar, Malaysia | AFP | Sunday 5/24/2015 - 11:21 GMT
by Satish Cheney
Malaysia said Sunday it had found mass graves feared to contain the bodies of Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants at the centre of a regional human-trafficking crisis.
Home Minister Zahid Hamidi was quoted by The Star newspaper's website as saying the graves were found near detention camps run by people-traffickers.
"But we don’t know how many there are. We are probably going to find more bodies," Zahid was quoted as saying.
By Alisa Tang
BANGKOK, May 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Resettling asylum seekers who are among the thousands of boat people in temporary shelters in Indonesia and Malaysia will prove "extremely difficult" due to the mounting refugee crises around the world, a U.N. official said.
Read the full article on AlertNet
Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Saturday 5/23/2015 - 09:06 GMT
by Hla-Hla HTAY
A group of migrants recently rescued by Myanmar will be deported to Bangladesh, officials confirmed Saturday, as the United Nations chief called on regional nations to prioritise saving the lives of those still stranded at sea.
Southeast Asia is currently battling an exodus of boat people fleeing persecution and poverty, with up to 2,000 vulnerable migrants thought to be stranded in the Bay of Bengal, many at the mercy of ruthless people smugglers.
BLUF – Potential Implications to PACOM
Mass migrations of ethnic Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar (Burma) may necessitate multinational support in looking for migrant vessels and providing locations to assist regional partner nations in alleviating the immediate humanitarian crisis.
Possibly requested support may include maritime domain awareness in Andaman Sea and nearby waters, search flights in international airspace, and information sharing with potential assisting countries: Malaysia, Indonesia,
Thailand, and others as necessary.
This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today’s Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva.
UNHCR welcomes the landing today of more than 200 people who had been stranded at sea off the coast of Rakhine State, Myanmar. Following their disembarkation, they were taken to a reception centre in southern Maungdaw where they are receiving immediate assistance.
Indonesia - The migrant crisis in Southeast Asia has entered a new phase, with over half of those originally estimated to be at sea now on dry land, some for the first time in almost four months.
IOM welcomed the positive statement made by Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand on Wednesday (20/5), but says there is still much to be done.
Turkey’s initiatives at the regional and international level continue in order to ensure a rapid response to the tragedy of thousands of Rohingyas and Bengalis, who, as they were being taken from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Indonesia and Thailand by human traffickers, were stranded in the Andaman Sea in their boats.
In this context, we have pledged 1 million US dollars to the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to be used for humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas and Bengalis.
Geneva, 21 May 2015 – The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement welcomes the announcement that thousands of migrants who have been stranded at sea will be able to access temporary shelter in Indonesia and Malaysia. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement further reaffirms its commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to the many men, women and children who are in need of help.
GENEVA (21 May 2015) – A group of United Nations human rights experts welcomed the Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai leaders’ decision not to pushback migrants and asylum seekers arriving in their territorial waters. They also urged the international community to assist the countries affected by supporting financially and materially their efforts to protect the human rights of all migrants.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand met in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 to discuss the issue of irregular movement of people into Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. This is with a view to finding a solution to the crisis of influx of irregular migrants and its serious impact on the national security of the affected countries.
They agreed to resolve this issue in keeping with the spirit of unity and solidarity of ASEAN as well as the aspiration to have a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN.
KUALA LUMPUR, MAY 21, 2015- MERCY Malaysia has begun providing relief aid to the Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees in the Belantik detention centre, Kedah, northern Peninsular Malaysia.
In a statement made today by MERCY Malaysia’s President, Dato' Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus said “We have conducted an assessment inside the camp, and have concentrated our aid in two main areas which are health and medical aid as well as essential non-food items”.
Human smuggling from the Bangladesh-Myanmar borderland cannot be effectively tackled by short-term quick-fixes. For a sustainable solution, both Bangladesh and Myanmar have to take effective action against human trafficking through building their institutional capacity and addressing the socio-economic causes behind human smuggling.
Sittwe, Myanmar | AFP | Thursday 5/21/2015 - 21:22 GMT
by Kelly MACNAMARA
Malaysia ordered search and rescue missions Thursday for thousands of boatpeople stranded at sea, as Myanmar hosted talks with US and Southeast Asian envoys on the migrant exodus from its shores.
The rescue order, which is the first proactive official move to save the thousands of persecuted Muslim Rohingya and Bangladeshi economic migrants believed currently to be adrift, comes a day after Malaysia and Indonesia said they would end a policy of turning away boats.
UNHCR welcomes the commitment announced today by the Foreign Ministers of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to resolve the issue of the thousands of refugees and migrants stranded in boats in the Bay of Bengal and off the coast of Southeast Asia. This is an important initial step in the search for solutions to this issue, and vital for the purpose of saving lives.
It is now urgent for people to be brought ashore without delay, and that immediate first aid and other care is provided for all who are in need. We look forward to seeing this happen without delay.
OXFORD/KUALA LUMPUR, 20 May 2015 (IRIN) - Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to provide temporary shelter and assistance to thousands of migrants still stranded at sea in Southeast Asia, but they have stopped short of offering to find their boats and bring them ashore.
Bangkok, Thailand | AFP | Wednesday 5/20/2015 - 11:19 GMT
In the past 10 days, nearly 3,000 boatpeople from Myanmar and Bangladesh have been rescued or swum to shore in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Several thousand more are believed to be trapped on boats at sea with little food or water in a crisis sparked by smugglers abandoning their human cargo after a Thai crackdown on long-established human-trafficking routes.
Geneva - IOM has welcomed the commitment by Indonesia and Malaysia to allow thousands of migrants – currently abandoned at sea by smugglers – to come ashore and receive life-saving assistance.
IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said today in Geneva: “We commend the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia, in particular, for committing to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the some 7,000 irregular migrants still at sea.”
Banda Aceh, Indonesia | AFP | Wednesday 5/20/2015 - 05:27 GMT
by Nurdin Hasan
Hundreds of starving boatpeople were rescued off Indonesia on Wednesday as Myanmar for the first time offered to help ease a regional migrant crisis blamed in part on its treatment of the ethnic Rohingya minority.
The change of tune from Yangon came as the foreign ministers of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand -- facing global criticism for turning away rickety boats packed with starving migrants -- gathered for talks on the issue.
Putrajaya, Malaysia | AFP | Wednesday 5/20/2015 - 21:06 GMT
by M JEGATHESAN
Malaysia and Indonesia said Wednesday they would no longer turn away migrants, a breakthrough in the region's crisis that came just hours after hundreds more starving people were rescued at sea.
Earlier, Myanmar, whose policies toward its ethnic Rohingya minority are widely blamed for fuelling the human flow, also softened its line by offering to provide humanitarian aid to stricken migrants.
Statement Attributable to UNHCR Spokesperson in Malaysia
18 May 2015
UNHCR is deeply concerned about the continuing humanitarian crisis involving the arrival of boats to Malaysia and other countries in the region, carrying Rohingyas from Myanmar and Bangladeshi nationals. Over the last week, alarming unconfirmed reports emerged suggesting that boats carrying vulnerable people from Myanmar and Bangladesh have been pushed away, raising concern for the welfare of the men, women, and children on board who may be in need of urgent medical and welfare assistance.