– With the latest reports that a vessel with Rohingya refugees is in distress in the Andaman Sea, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) calls on countries in the region to meet their international obligations and ensure that all on board the vessel are immediately rescued and safely disembarked.
The vessel has been at sea for more than 10 days, with loss of life already reported. IOM reiterates calls it has made in the past with other UN agencies and humanitarian partners emphasizing that saving lives must be the top priority. IOM adds that it is imperative that a lasting regional solution to a regional problem be found, building on the solid cooperation and planning previously undertaken by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Bali Process to address irregular maritime movements.
- IOM calls on States in the region to uphold the commitments of the 2016 Bali Declaration as well as ASEAN pledges to protect the most vulnerable and to leave no one behind, particularly at this very challenging time globally.
- As in 2020, when several boats with vulnerable Rohingya women, men and children drifted at sea for months, IOM now urges the Bali Process Co-Chairs to activate the Consultative Mechanism to convene affected countries and facilitate a timely and regional resolution. IOM further calls on States in the region that are not directly impacted to offer support to those States that must proceed with rescue and disembarkation.
- IOM urges states to continue and expand search and rescue efforts and ensure that landing procedures and reception conditions are safe and humane. Search and rescue must be combined with arrangements for prompt disembarkation to a place of safety.
IOM, along with its UN and other humanitarian partners, reaffirms its support to States across the region to provide immediate assistance to asylum-seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants, as well as to strengthen the broader response capacity to respond to irregular movements.