UN wants all countries involved to solve Asian migrants trafficking | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

UN wants all countries involved to solve Asian migrants trafficking


The United Nations (UN) has said all the countries that are ‘implicated’ need to sit around the table and come up with a solution regarding human trafficking.
“I think all the countries that are implicated, whether they’re origin countries, transit countries or destination countries, need to sit around the table and come up with a solution,” said Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General at a regular briefing at the UN headquarters on Thursday.The 139 graves exhumed in migrant smuggling camps in northern Malaysia appear to hold only one body each, said a questioner and wanted to know whether Bangladesh is invited at the meeting being held in Bangkok, Thailand on Friday.
Some 17 members of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) met on this issue in Thailand with the support of the United Nations on Friday.
BBC Reported: A regional conference is under way in the Thai capital Bangkok to discuss possible solutions to the South East Asia migrant crisis.
The talks include member states from the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) as well as representatives from the US and the UN, reports BBC.
Bangladesh and Myanmar have seen an exodus of people fleeing south by boat to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Thousands are thought to be stranded at sea in abandoned boats.
Most are economic migrants from Bangladesh and Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar – also known as Burma.
In his opening remarks, Thailand’s Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn said “the influx of irregular migrants… has reached alarming levels” and an urgent and united response was needed.
Thailand has agreed to allow US surveillance planes to fly from its territory to find boats carrying migrants adrift in the ocean, according to Reuters news agency.
Mr Patimapragorn added that “the root causes that motivated these people to leave must also be addressed”, in comments apparently directed at Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok says it was difficult to get Myanmar to participate in the talks, and the delegation has threatened to walk out if the word Rohingya is mentioned.
But the fact that Myanmar officials are in Bangkok engaging in multilateral discussions for the first time on this issue is a step forward, our correspondent adds.
‘Only discussions’
Friday’s talks include representatives from 17 countries affected by “irregular migration in the Indian Ocean” – Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
The US, Japan and Switzerland have sent observers and there are officials from the UN refugee agency, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Organization for Migration.
However, correspondents say many of those attending are not ministerial-level and the talks are unlikely to produce a binding agreement or even a plan of action.
Myanmar, which denies the Rohingya citizenship, making them effectively stateless, has played down any hopes of an agreement.
“We are going there only to discuss the regional crisis which all of the Asean countries are facing,” Htein Lin, head of Myanmar’s delegation, told Reuters news agency.
The crisis began earlier this year when Thailand cracked down on overland migrant routes, forcing people smugglers to use sea routes instead.
Most countries are unwilling take in the migrants, fearing that by accepting them they will encourage more to make the journey.
Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to stop towing boats out to sea and to give temporary shelter to those who have landed. Thailand has only said it will stop rejecting the boats.
Asia’s migrant crisis
Rohingya Muslims mainly live in Myanmar, where they have faced decades of persecution.
Rights groups say migrants feel they have “no choice” but to leave, paying people smugglers to help them.
The UN estimates more than 120,000 Rohingya have fled in the past three years.
Traffickers usually take the migrants by sea to Thailand then overland to Malaysia.
But Thailand recently began cracking down on the migrant routes, meaning traffickers are using sea routes instead.
More than 3,000 migrants have landed in Indonesia and Malaysia in recent weeks but relief agencies say that almost as many are believed to be still adrift on abandoned boats.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said Australia would not resettle any of the migrants, adding: “We are not going to do anything that will encourage people to get on boats.”
Earlier, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama urged Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to “do something” to help the Rohingya.
The Dalai Lama told The Australian newspaper on Thursday he had discussed the Rohingya in meetings with Ms Suu Kyi, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
“She told me she found some difficulties, that things were not simple but very complicated,” he was quoted as saying. “But in spite of that I feel she can do something.”
The BBC’s Jonah Fisher in Myanmar says many see Ms Suu Kyi’s silence as political pragmatism, as many in Myanmar are hostile to the Rohingya minority and elections are due to be held in November.
Meanwhile-Bangladesh has expressed its readiness to join any regional or global effort to address human trafficking by sea in the Indian Ocean region in an integrated and comprehensive manner.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque was addressing the special meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean in Bangkok, Thailand on Friday, according to Foreign Ministry in Dhaka.
“We’re talking about human beings who are victims or potential victims. They deserve our compassion. Our collective endeavor should be to protect their lives, alleviate their sufferings and uphold their dignity,” he said adding that to this end, Bangladesh stands ready to join any regional or global effort.
The Foreign Secretary said there is no doubt that there is little time to wait. “In fact, we are already late. While we grapple with the root causes, we cannot afford to let the traffickers win over us.”
He said as the present case indicates, they are pitted against an organized transnational criminal network that has acquired the capacity to challenge our national efforts. “We shall succeed in dismantling this network only when we coordinate our efforts across the entire spectrum at sources, during transit and at destinations.”
The Foreign Secretary said all must intensify regional cooperation in all sincerity and determination.
“There appears to be strong political will to find an effective, comprehensive and sustainable solution to address all forms of irregular movements and human trafficking in the region,” Haque said adding that this meeting is a test case of our resolve to translate this will into a meaningful and far-reaching outcome.
The Foreign Secretary said Bangladesh is deeply concerned over the unfolding humanitarian tragedy in the Indian Ocean. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Government considers this to be a direct challenge to our ‘zero tolerance’ approach to human trafficking.”
He said Bangladesh is determined to go all the way to stop and reverse this trend. “It is perhaps time for us to say ‘enough is enough’.”
The UN Secretary General has recently urged the regional countries to address the root causes of the current exodus in the region.
“If we read through the international headlines, the message seems to be writ large on the wall. We must demonstrate the courage to deal with the underlying root causes for decisive and long lasting solutions to the challenge before us,” said the Foreign Secretary.
4 of Rohingya family found dead
In another development four members of a Rohingya family, including a minor boy, were found dead at Tiamolong village in Sadar upazila on Friday.
The deceased were identified as Amin,45, his son Junayed, 12, his sister Samira, 40, and Samira’s three-year-old son.
Imtiaz Ahmed, officer-in-charge of Kotwali Police Station, said being informed by locals, police recovered the bodies of the four from separate places near the house and sent those to Bandarban GeneralHospital morgue for autopsy around 7:30 am.
The incident came to light around 7.00 am on Friday when Luthai, a tribal man and a resident of the area, went to the house of Amin as he had asked Luthai to come and take some firewood from him.
When Luthai went to the house he found Amin and three others lying in a pool of blood near the house and the garden.
Quoting locals, police said Amin’s wife and brother-in-law might have hacked the four people to death at sometime on Thursday evening over family feud and left the bodies there.
Locals also alleged that they had seen the brother-in-law of Amin roaming in the area on Thursday afternoon.
Amin, a Rohingya, along with his family had been living in the area for the last three years and used to work as a caretaker of a horticulture garden of one Bakkar.
However, the wife of Amin and his brother-in-law remained missing since the incident.
Sanu Pru Marma, a chairman of Kuhalung union parishad, said Amin had been attacked by his brother-in-law one month back over the same issue. – News Desk


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