IPHRC expressed its deep concerns over the vulnerable and most appalling state of the refugees and economic migrants stranded in the Bay of Bengal and Strait of Malacca. The abysmal state of thousands of these migrants including women, children and elderly over a protracted time frame with no assistance to ensure protection of their basic human rights including the fundamental right to life raises important questions against international community’s commitment to universal human rights. IPHRC urged the international community and regional governments to undertake immediate humanitarian actions to address the plight of these stranded migrants by ensuring the safety and dignity of human life, which include urgent provision of food, medicines and other basic amenities to them.
IPHRC welcomed the decision of Indonesian and Malaysian governments to provide shelter and requisite humanitarian assistance to over 7000 of these stranded people. It encouraged other regional governments to come forward and fulfill their responsibilities in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law. Furthermore it stressed that all measures be taken in conformity with the principle of non-refoulement and fundamental human rights standards.
IPHRC highlighted that the ongoing humanitarian crisis is not only a result of simple economic migration. It also involves denial of basic human rights to and persecution of the Rohingya people who are fleeing in order to protect their lives. To that end, IPHRC noted with concern the callous disregard of the Myanmar government to take cognizance of the crisis and urged them to assume responsibility and take urgent steps to alleviate the sufferings of their Rohingya population.
The Commission reiterated that the international community and UN bodies should pursue a holistic approach in addressing the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors that instigate such human tragedies. It should also involve measures to discourage and eliminate xenophobic tendencies in all its forms and manifestations by individuals, groups or States, it added.