Southeast Asian countries pledge cooperation on Bay of Bengal mixed migration
Dec 6, NY: Southeast Asian countries affirmed that the only way to reduce loss of life at sea is by working together on comprehensive and sustainable approaches to mixed migration movements, the United Nations refugee agency said as the resumption of dangerous sea journeys in the region loomed.
Unless conditions improve in their home areas, more people are expected to cross the Bay of Bengal in the coming months, seeking safety and stability in countries in South-East Asia, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Since 2014, some 95,000 people have made the dangerous journey in the Bay of Bengal – which is bordered by Sri Lanka and India to the west, Bangladesh to the north, and Myanmar and the northern part of the Malay Peninsula to the east – and the Andaman Sea to its southeast, with more than 1,100 dying at sea and hundreds more found buried in unmarked mass graves, according to UNHCR.
With an unprecedented 60 million persons displaced today, it has become clear that forced displacement issues are a global phenomenon that no country can address or resolve on its own.
Countries in the region today affirmed that the only way to reduce loss of life at sea is by working together on comprehensive and sustainable approaches to mixed migration movements.
UNHCR said it hopes that today’s meeting would help set up a regional mechanism to coordinate efforts not just on law enforcement but also on locating and rescuing boats in distress, facilitating passengers to land and providing reception facilities in accordance with States' international obligations.
Some 5,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis were eventually disembarked after weeks adrift at sea – in a bid to better prepare for future movements.
The Oslo Times