UN, Myanmar vow to cooperate in tackling 'boat people' issue
Updated: 2015-05-27 10:54
YANGON - The United Nations and Myanmar have vowed to cooperate in tackling "boat people" issue both nationally and regionally, said a statement of the UN published Wednesday following the temporary visit of UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Myanmar Vijay Nambiar to the camp in Rakhine state where rescued migrants were located.
Concerning the ongoing "boat crisis" in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, the statement said Nambiar discussed with authorities concerned the seriousness of the situation of migrant smuggling, human trafficking and irregular migration.
The UN stressed the need for concerted action against the brokers and criminal syndicates involved in perpetrating the activities throughout the region, it said, adding that the UN has offered support to the Myanmar government to address the issues.
The UN encouraged the Myanmar government to continue search and rescue operation believing that many more migrants are still stranded at sea, welcoming the confirmation that Myanmar will participate in the regional meeting scheduled for Friday in Bangkok to discuss the issue and to identify areas for regional cooperation.
Myanmar and Bangladesh are now working to repatriate 200 Bangladeshi "boat people" to their homeland, rescued by Myanmar navy, under an agreement between authorities of the two countries.
The 200 "boat people" out of 208, sheltered at relief camps in Ale Thankyaw village of Maungtaw, Rakhine state, were scrutinized as Bangladeshi citizens from Cox's Bazar, Chittagong and northern Dhaka who had sought to migrate to Thailand and Malaysia for job.
In its regular patrolling in Myanmar territorial waters, Myanmar navy intercepted two suspected fishing trawlers off the western coast of Maungtaw, western Rakhine state on last Thursday, one of which has 208 people on board, while the other was empty.
Investigation by the Myanmar government found that some of the "boat people" had fallen victim to human trafficking rings and crime syndicates after receiving offer of work in Thailand and Malaysia from illegal job brokers.