Meeting on migrant crisis set for May 29

Meeting on migrant crisis set for May 29

A child, believed to be Rohingya, eats inside a shelter after he was rescued along with hundreds of others from boats in Lhoksukon in Indonesia's Aceh province May 12. There has been a surge in refugees arriving from impoverished Bangladesh and Myanmar to Malaysia and Indonesia following a crackdown on trafficking by Thailand, usually the first destination in the region's people-smuggling network. (Reuters photo)
A child, believed to be Rohingya, eats inside a shelter after he was rescued along with hundreds of others from boats in Lhoksukon in Indonesia's Aceh province May 12. There has been a surge in refugees arriving from impoverished Bangladesh and Myanmar to Malaysia and Indonesia following a crackdown on trafficking by Thailand, usually the first destination in the region's people-smuggling network. (Reuters photo)

Thailand will host a May 29 regional meeting on the flow of migrants through the Bay of Bengal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday, as it grapples with an "unprecedented" human-trafficking crisis.

"The special meeting is an urgent call for the region to... work together to address the unprecedented increase of irregular migration," the ministry said in a statement.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had called for a summit on the problem, but other countries did not respond to calls for a meeting of heads of government.

Instead, senior officials from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia will join representatives from Australia, Cambodia, Laos, the United States, Vietnam and others at the one-day "Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean" in Bangkok, the ministry said.

Observers from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, International Organization for Migration, Office on Drugs and Crime, and other organisations have been invited.

"The increasing complexity of the problem demands a multi-faceted approach. Countries of origin, transit, and destination must work together to address the problem comprehensively by addressing the root causes as well as all the contributing factors along the way," the ministry statement read.

The meeting will be chaired by Norachit Sinhaseni, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is intended to be a "forum for exchange of information and intelligence on the current situation on irregular migration by sea and its challenges, as well as to demonstrate ... strong commitment to strengthen cooperation and foster more concrete actions", the ministry said.

Such actions may include, "inter alia, cooperation on information and intelligence sharing as well as coordination in law enforcement to dismantle transnational criminal networks, and collective information campaign at countries of origin, transit, and destination to promote awareness and prevent exploitations."


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