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Thousands of Southeast Asian migrants stranded at sea

2015-05-25

These are the children caught in the middle of a major geopolitical crisis. They come from Bangladesh and Myanmar. 

They've lost everything. Now, all they have is their will to survive. They depend on UN refugee camps like these for food, water and medical care. 

For the last few weeks, they've come by boat to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Thousands though haven't made it. 

It's estimated that more than 7,000 are stranded at sea. At one point, some were actually turned back, literally while still on their boats. 

RUPERT COLVILLE 
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
"We're appalled at reports that Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have been pushing boats full of vulnerable migrants back out to sea, which will inevitably lead to many avoidable deaths.”

Even though some of these countries changed their policies after an international push back more still needs to be done. The Pope has called on the international community to help and to open its doors to those in need. 

POPE FRANCIS
"I continue to follow with great concern and sorrow in the heart of the story of the many refugees in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. I express appreciation for the efforts made by those countries that have expressed willingness to welcome these people who are facing great suffering and danger.”

Those who have made it ashore are not sure about what their future holds.  Even those who were lucky enough to receive assistance, don't know where they will settle. 

The root cause of the crisis is debatable. While international reports claim that religious persecution against Rohingya Muslims is at fault, Myanmar says that human trafficking is to blame. 

As the unrest continues,  it's unlikely that the crisis will come to an end anytime soon.


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