Call for Rights-based Protection and Justice for All Migrants!
We welcome the humanitarian response of governments who have begun search and rescue of the Rohingya and Bangladeshi people at sea and offered them temporary refuge.
Migrants trapped at sea on boats is not a new phenomenon in the region, neither is the daily reality of the struggles and plight of refugees and many migrants forced to live in fear and face discrimination, exploitation, violence and death. Visibility of this long-term problem of brutality rite large demands both protection and justice.
The latest exposure of mass graves and trafficking camps on the militarised Thai-Malaysian border has again rendered visible the tragic consequences of the regional conditions of: inequality and injustice; the decades-long persecution of Rohingya people and inadequate refugee protection; systemic corruption; the structural labour demands for trafficked and smuggled people in our economies (and lifestyles) and beyond; restrictive immigration policies; and lack of commitment in practice to rights-based labour migration and protection for low-income workers.
These conditions have allowed the criminal large-scale trafficking industry to flourish for years, despite being an open secret in the region.
Now is the time for ASEAN member states to demonstrate the collective political will to convert responsibility into practice and demonstrate a commitment to the protection and access to justice of all migrants.
Now is the time for ASEAN to show solidarity, respect for human rights for all and move beyond rhetoric to abide with the principle of being people-centred.
- We call for action by ASEAN member states, the ASEAN people, and the International community to:
Intensify the search and rescue operations of the women, men and children whose precious lives remain at risk at sea in overcrowded boats.
- Monitor, guarantee rights and provide transparency of the human rights situation of all those who have made it ashore.
- Establish an independent oversight committee, inclusive of civil society.
- Provide humane treatment and safe open accommodation for all who have been rescued at sea or from the brutal hands of traffickers.
- Ensure that family members remain in contact and comply with the obligation to protect children as per the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).
- Provide rights-based protection for all with access to free legal services and health care – with initial assessments of need by a qualified professional.
- Recognise the devastation of sexual violence on women lives: provide psychosocial support and prosecute perpetrators.
Do not send the Rohingya people back to face persecution and death – Uphold the principle of non-refoulement and respect their agency to escape.
- Respect the mobility rights, right to life and development of Bangladeshi people. No deportation without due process.
Investigate and ensure justice for all those who died and their families left behind.
- Move beyond humanitarian assistance to prevention and justice: No more repetitions. Develop comprehensive regional binding solutions that address the long-term conditions responsible for the deaths and devastation of an untold number of lives over the decades.
We urge the entire ASEAN community to unite and be in solidarity with these people – Remain vigilant and steadfast in ending these injustices against migrants.
Rights-based Protection and Justice for All !!!
Kanlungan Centre Foundation, Inc.
77 K-10 Street, East Kamias, Quezon City
Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.