ASEAN to set up fund to help boat people

Ministers and representatives from ASEAN countries attend a meeting on the regional migrant crisis on Thursday. Malaysian minister tells each member country should contribute $100,000

ASEAN to set up fund to help boat people

World Bulletin / News Desk 

Malaysia's Home Affairs minister has told an ASEAN meeting on cross-border crimes that members of the Southeast Asian bloc will set up a humanitarian fund to help the boatloads of migrants who have recently landed on Indonesian and Malaysian shores.

Meeting chair Zahid Hamidi said Thursday that he had proposed that each member country should contribute $100,000 to the fund, with Singapore already pledging $200,000, according to Malaysia's official news agency Bernama.

Hamidi added that Myanmar - where many of the Arakan Muslim boat people have fled from - will assist Malaysia and Thailand in combating human trafficking syndicates.

On May 1, a people trafficking camp was discovered on Thailand's border with Malaysia, which led to authorities clamping down on people smuggling in the country.

Subsequently, many smugglers left their victims on boats at sea, or dumped them on Malaysian or Indonesian shores.

Malaysia - along with Indonesia - has said it will shelter the boat people for one year, but then the international community must find homes for them elsewhere

Thursday's one-day meeting is expected to become a platform for ASEAN nations to discuss and arrive at a consensus in seeking a solution to the boat people issue.

Outside of ASEAN counterparts, secretary-general, Le Luong Minh and representatives from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, International Organization for Migration and the United States State Department were expected to take part.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Temmuz 2015, 14:02