BANGKOK Thailand named on Friday for concerted action to tackle “irregular” migration in the Indian Ocean, but no substantial options emerged from a regional meeting aimed at stopping this year’s “boat individuals” tragedies in which hundreds drowned.
Representatives from Southeast Asian nations met in Bangkok to hash out a framework to deal with tens of thousands of migrants, most from Myanmar and Bangladesh, who make perilous voyages across the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea each year.
The meeting ended with a strategy place forward by Thailand which 5 directly affected nations, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh, would contemplate.
“There is still no clarity. We have discussed but not agreed,” Apichart Chinwanno, permanent secretary at the Thai Foreign Ministry, mentioned.
The document being regarded, as European countries struggle to cope with refugees fleeing war in Syria and Iraq, focused on protection of migrants, prevention of irregular migration and prosecution of human smuggling and trafficking networks, he said, but gave handful of information.
“They focused on an data campaign, that’s all. Not about assisting people at sea and not about humanitarian help,” a U.N. official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai stated the region needed “an explicit and efficient mechanism to handle and control the negative impacts of irregular migration”.
The conference was the second round of talks that had been launched in May possibly amid a migration crisis prompted by a human trafficking crackdown in Thailand.
The crackdown brought on traffickers to abandon four,000 migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh at sea and was marked by a chaotic spectacle of “maritime ping-pong” as the Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian navies repeatedly pushed desperate migrants in boats away from their waters.
October and November mark the begin of the four-month “sailing season”, the busiest time for smuggling and trafficking ships plying the Bay of Bengal.
Even though some migrants are Bangladeshis escaping poverty at property, several are members of Myanmar’s 1.1 million Rohingya Muslim community who live in apartheid-like circumstances in the country’s Rakhine state.
Myanmar does not think about the Rohingya citizens, rendering them effectively stateless, while denying it discriminates against them or that they are fleeing persecution.
The foreign minister had mentioned the situation of Rohingya citizenship would not be discussed on Friday.
(Editing by Nick Macfie)