Tags: Rohingya | migrants | boats | refugees | myanmar

Indonesia, Malaysia Offer Some Aid to 7,000 Migrants Stuck at Sea

Indonesia, Malaysia Offer Some Aid to 7,000 Migrants Stuck at Sea
A boat which carried Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants sits abandoned in the distance on May 20, 2015 in Kuta Binje, Aceh Province, Indonesia.(Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 21 May 2015 01:02 PM

Indonesia and Malaysia agreed Wednesday to provide temporary humanitarian assistance to 7,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims — fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar — stuck at sea in overcrowded, ramshackle boats, The New York Times reports.

Other Southeast Asian nations are turning away the migrants, which also include Bangladeshis fleeing poverty, leaving starving and thirsty masses to die at sea. Myanmar borders Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand.

Predominantly Buddhist Myanmar is home to some 1.3 million Rohingya, who practice a blend of Sunni and Sufi Islam, according to NPR.

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as citizens and has refused to accept those who have fled back into the country, according to the Times, which characterizes the Rohingyas as a "stateless Muslim ethnic group" clustered in western Myanmar.

Indonesia and Malaysia’s agreement stipulates that the countries will provide the refugees shelter until they can be returned home or resettled in another country — so long as the "resettlement and repatriation process" takes place within one year by the international community.

The situation is quickly turning into an international crisis with thousands of people, including women and children, stranded at sea in what the United Nations has described as "floating coffins."

Bangladesh and Myanmar did not participate in the talks that resulted in Wednesday’s agreement. Thailand did not agree to take in any migrants. And officials in the Philippines this week said they would not turn away migrants that arrived on its shores, but did not specify how many people might they might accept, and under what circumstances, according to the Times.

A longstanding policy of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia is to tow refugee boats back to international waters, according to the Global Post, which SAID that the policy change by Indonesia and Malaysia will save lives in the short-term but do little to resolve the long-term problem.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was unapologetic about his country’s refusal to take any of the refugees stuck at sea, according to The Guardian.

"Australia will do absolutely nothing that gives any encouragement to anyone to think that they can get on a boat, that they can work with people smugglers to start a new life," he said. "I’m sorry. If you want to start a new life, you come through the front door, not through the back door.

"Don’t think that getting on a leaky boat at the behest of a people smuggler is going to do you or your family any good.

"We are not going to do anything that will encourage people to get on boats. If we do the slightest thing to encourage people to get on the boats, this problem will get worse, not better."

He blames Myanmar for letting those seeking asylum leave, saying the crisis is "a regional responsibility" and one which the countries closest to the problem should handle.

"In the end, the culprit is Burma because it is Burma where there is an issue," Abbott said, using the former name of Myanmar.

Also Wednesday, 23 U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle signed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry calling for the U.S. to offer search and rescue and humanitarian assistance for the migrants at sea, as well as to work with Southeast Asian nations to address the "root cause" of the crisis, the Associated Press reports.

The U.S. should also consider levying sanctions against those who incite violence against the Rohingya, the letter states.

© 2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


   
1Like our page
2Share
GlobalTalk
Indonesia and Malaysia agreed Wednesday to provide temporary humanitarian assistance to 7,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims - fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar - stuck at sea in overcrowded, ramshackle boats, The New York Times reports.
Rohingya, migrants, boats, refugees, myanmar
580
2015-02-21
Thursday, 21 May 2015 01:02 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved