London (BBN)-The Amnesty International has appreciated the decision of Malaysia and Indonesia to provide temporary shelter to the migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar who are drifting on sea since several months.
The London-based human rights body also stressed the need for conducting rescue and search operation for saving the lives of stranded migrants at sea.
“Malaysia and Indonesia have just announced they’ll take in 7,000 people currently stranded at sea. This is a good first step, and a sign that global pressure is working, said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director, after the Malaysia and Indonesia’s decision.
“But it’s not enough. There are likely more than 7,000 people stuck on boats, and with dwindling food and fuel supplies many won’t make it ashore without help. Let’s keep up the call for a coordinated search and rescue operation to bring all these people to safety,” said a statement issued on Wednesday following emergency talks about the regional crisis.
“Thousands of refugees and migrants are now at risk of death in boats off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Governments of the region must act urgently to save these people’s lives,” the statement of the rights body said.
“People should not be detained, prosecuted or otherwise punished solely because of their method of arrival. Amnesty International is calling on countries in the region to immediately step up and coordinate efforts for search and rescue,” said Richard Bennett.
“Please call on the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia to act immediately and save the lives of 8,000 people before it’s too late,” he added.
More than 2,000 people arrived in Indonesia and Malaysia this week. Some have been detained on land, but most were pushed back to sea.
These latest arrivals join thousands of men, women and children who have been at sea for more than two months now. They are in urgent need of food, water and medical care.
By pushing back boats and refusing to rescue people in trouble, the governments of the region are breaching international human rights law, and sentencing people to death.
Media reports suggest that at least 200 people have died on boats already.
Many of those stranded in boats are Rohingya people — a persecuted ethnic minority from Myanmar and Bangladesh who are fleeing incredible discrimination, violence and hardship.