Agencies to offer 10-point plan for migrant crisis

Agencies to offer 10-point plan for migrant crisis
Rohingya migrants sit and stand on a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea on May 14, 2015.

Three international organisations will jointly propose a 10-point action plan at a special meeting in Bangkok tomorrow to tackle the Southeast Asia migrant crisis, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC) said yesterday.

The agencies, UNHRC, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), have already shared the 10-point action plan with the concerned governments and proposed concrete steps to address the regional challenge of helping people who are risking their lives on smugglers' boats, a spokesperson said.

"UNHCR hopes the meeting on May 29 involving governments will agree on joint action to tackle the humanitarian crisis and address the root of the outflow," said Vivian Tan, UNHCR senior regional public information officer.

This involves coordinating rescue attempts at sea and allowing people to come ashore to receive medical attention and food, she said.

Thailand called the special meeting of senior officials and experts from 17 countries and three international organisations to seek a solution to the migrant situation in the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, officials on the ground continued their crackdown on human trafficking rings who help migrants cross the border between Thailand and Malaysia.

Malaysian authorities have asked Thailand for permission to travel along portions of Padang Besar mountain on the Thai side of the border so they can transport human remains found in some of the 139 graves for post-mortem identification, a senior area police officer said yesterday.

Certain locations on Padang Besar mountain in Songkhla province are easier to access through Thailand's side, said Pol Lt-General Montree Potaranant, commander of Provincial Police Region 9.

Region 9 spokesman Pol Maj-General Phutthichart Ekkachant said the Thai authorities were awaiting information from Malaysia on the map coordinates of the requested passage. The exhumation details and DNA information of the corpses would be kept confidentially by the Thai police.

Montree said a number of Region 9 officers were invited to be present at the exhumation in Perlis state.

Meanwhile, a former local politician in Satun, Chakhrit Long-samae, turned himself in yesterday to Padang Besar police.

He is a close aide to suspected trafficker Pajjuban "Ko Tong" Angchotephan and denied three charges, including human trafficking. Chakhrit's surrender has brought to 49 the number of suspects in police custody. Arrest warrants have been issued for 77 others.

Two other suspects, Dean Hemman and Madsa-ard Jaidee, surrendered to the police on Monday. Both denied all charges, including human trafficking.

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