UNHCR is calling for urgent action before the end of the monsoon season unleashes a new wave of people leaving on boats from the Bay of Bengal, according to spokesperson Melissa Fleming speaking in Geneva.
According to UNHCR estimates, in the first six months of this year before the monsoon, some 31,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis departed from the Bay of Bengal on smugglers’ boats.
UNHCR also mentioned hundreds of people died in this journey in 2015.
Although the journeys have stopped in the last few days due to the monsoon season, it is expected they shall start soon as weather improves after a few weeks.
The UN agency says the Rohingyas, who cannot return to Myanmar at the moment, remain in the countries in which they were disembarked. UNHCR continues to advocate that the protection needs of this population are met and that they are given access to basic services while the root causes of their displacement are addressed.
The reports says UNHCR’s appeal for $13 million to respond and seek solutions to the recent maritime crisis is only 20 per cent funded, with contributions from the governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Japan, Korea and Norway, as well as a private contribution from the United Arab. But more funds are required, the UN agency warns.
The report ends with the following recommendation –“ At the regional level, more must be done to put systems in place to respond to the need for rescue at sea and for safe and predictable disembarkation. UNHCR looks forward to the establishment of a task force recommended at the Bangkok Special Meeting and reiterated at the Emergency ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime in July. UNHCR is also participating in global discussions on migration and human mobility next month, including mixed movements involving migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees.”