US urges South Asian nations to shelter Rohingya migrants

US State Department John Kerry urges Thailand and other South Asian nations to shelter Rohingya Muslim migrants

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The US State Secretary John Kerry on Friday urged Thailand and the regional countries to give temporary shelter to Rohingya Muslim migrants drifting at sea.

The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) chief of mission for Thailand said thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants "are unable to land on shore."

Indonesia sent several vessels filled with thousands of migrants back at sea after rescuing around 800 people despite the United Nations had called the regional nations not to send back people with dwindling food and water.

"The secretary called his Thai counterpart [on Thursday] night to discuss the situation of migrants in the Andaman Sea and to discuss the possibility of Thailand providing temporary shelter," said the US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke.

The spokesman Rathke also said around 3,000 migrant from Myanmar and Bangladesh had landed in Indonesia and Malaysia this week and were receiving help, adding the US ambassadors were also engaged with the governments about providing humanitarian aids.

"We urge the governments of the region to work together quickly ... to save the lives of migrants now at sea who are in need of an immediate rescue," said Rathke.

"We urge governments in the region to refrain from push backs of new boat arrivals."

Most of the people on the boat are Rohingya, a Muslim minority from Myanmar who are described as the world's most persecuted and stateless people.


TRTWorld and agencies