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UN agency welcomes ‘important initial step’ on migration by Southeast Asian governments

Monday, 25 May 2015

The United Nations refugee agency welcomed today the commitment announced by the Foreign Ministers of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to resolve the issue of the thousands of refugees and migrants stranded in boats in the Bay of Bengal and off the coast of Southeast Asia.

“This is an important initial step in the search for solutions to this issue, and vital for the purpose of saving lives,” said a statement released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “It is now urgent for people to be brought ashore without delay, and that immediate first aid and other care is provided for all who are in need. We look forward to seeing this happen without delay.”

The statement said that the refugee agency agrees with the Ministers' acknowledgement that further action would be needed, including addressing the root causes of the migration issue. Further action will need to look properly at the needs of those in need of international protection.

“As with other regions of the world where we are seeing large movements of people by sea, countries in the region will need to work together for this to be addressed meaningfully and successfully,” the statement said. “UNHCR itself is ready to work with countries in the region to find solutions to the plight of these people. These ultimately may include returning people to their home countries voluntarily and once conditions allow.”

Source: UN News Centre

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