UNHCR issues statement on migrants, refugees
20 May 2015, Nirapad News: UNHCR, OHCHR, IOM and SRSG issued a joint statement urging the leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to protect migrants and refugees stranded on vessels in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
They also urged to facilitate safe disembarkation and to give priority to saving lives, protecting rights, and respecting human dignity.
The statement said. “grave events in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea in recent days involving migrants and refugees –Rohingya and others – from Bangladesh and Myanmar confirm that vulnerable people around the world are moving in search of safety and dignity, fleeing persecution, abject poverty, deprivation, discrimination, and abuse. Such perilous journeys, whether by land, sea, or air, have become a global phenomenon.”
In the Bay of Bengal, migrants and refugees are fed only white rice and are subjected to violence, including sexual violence. Women are raped. Children are separated from their families and abused. Men are beaten and thrown overboard, it added.
The statement also said, “We are deeply concerned at reports that boats full of vulnerable women, men and children are unable to land and are stranded at sea without access to urgently needed food, water, and medical assistance.”
“We urge states in the region to protect the lives of all aboard by allowing the passengers on these overcrowded boats to disembark safely,” it added.