Even as worldwide media start to highlight the issue of the stranded 6,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi in the Andaman sea, no political solutions have been offered to assist in their safe rescue and medical care.
Growing calls for the EU, the US and UK Governments to push for international diplomacy have gathered momentum. However, the real solution must come regionally, from ASEAN nations and the call must not only find viable rescue operations but also tackle the root issue which stems from the Myanmerese regime's continuous and persistent human rights abuse towards the Rohingya. The ASEAN nations need to call for Burma to be a viable and responsible partner in the region and to immediately repeal and review the 1982 Citizenship Law
Restless Beings has been in touch with partner organisations throughout the world to try to work towards finding and facilitating these solutions. "UNHCR – which focuses on assistance for refugees and displaced people – doesn’t have the mandate, expertise or resources to track boats or do search and rescue. Whatever information we get from sources, we pass on to the relevant governments and organisations in the hope that they can act urgently" said Vivian Tan, Senior Officer at UNHCR to Restless Beings on Friday.
"[in the]Meantime we are working with governments to support those Rohingya who have arrived on land, including in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia" Tan continued.
The World Food Programme who had been active during the crisis of June 2012 responded, "WFP’s mandate is related to the fight against hunger and food insecurity. We do not have any authority in migration issues"
The longer the situation remains unresolved the higher the risk of death and a potential catastrophe. Widespread reports of those on board the vessels having to resort to drinking their own urine, traffickers and captains abandoning their vessels, a kind of 'ping-pong' being played out by Malay, Indoneisan and Thai officials turning boats around back to the open seas and countless stories of personal tragedies does not seem to have ignited an international diplomatic response.
Restless Beings will be writing to every single MP and MEP from the UK in the coming days, continue working alongside international relief organisations such as UNHCR, WFP and IOM and are in the process of working alongside coalition partners to make a serious call to every single ASEAN nation to bring forth and find viable solutions to deal with the stranded Rohingya at sea and the Rohingya human rights issue at large. As an engaging platform, we will be releasing information on how you can be part of this campaign in the coming days.