Why No One Wants The Rohingyas
An estimated 6,000 or more such migrants are stranded at sea in Southeast Asia. Most of the people on the overcrowded and unseaworthy boats are thought to belong to the 1.3 million-strong Rohingya minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Others are believed to be from Bangladesh.
Reuters reports that while nearly 800 migrants on one boat were brought ashore Friday in Indonesia, other boats crammed full of people were turned away.
Such refusals underline "the hardening of Southeast Asia governments' stance on the boatloads of Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar," Reuters says. The Rohingya practice a blend of Sunni and Sufi Islam.
'No Stomach' For Migrants
At best, the migrants have been received with resignation — at worst with contempt — even by the region's Muslim nations. As we've reported recently, many are victims of human traffickers.
The Thai and Malaysian navies have both turned away refugee boats in recent days. Indonesia has taken in some migrants but is now refusing to accept them.
Predominantly Buddhist Thailand has been battling an Islamist insurgency in its south for decades and has "no stomach" for bringing in more Muslims, says Lex Rieffel, a nonresident senior fellow and expert on Southeast Asia at the Brookings Institution
In any case, the country has a long history of dealing with unwanted migrants fleeing conflict in Cambodia and has no desire to repeat that, Rieffel says.
"If they break the law and land in Thailand, how can we take care of them?" Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters Thursday. "Where will the budget come from? That money will need to come from Thai people's taxes, right?"
For Indonesia and Malaysia, both Muslim-majority countries, the issue is less clear-cut, Rieffel says, but they are also interested in avoiding the appearance that they are opening the gates.
"We will try to prevent them from entering our territory, otherwise it will create social issues," Reuters quotes Indonesia's military chief Gen. Moeldoko as telling reporters. "If we open up access, there will be an exodus here."
"What do you expect us to do?" Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jafaar was quoted by The Guardian as saying. "We have been very nice to the people who broke into our border. We have treated them humanely, but they cannot be flooding our shores like this."
Michael Buehler, a lecturer in comparative politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, points out that Indonesia has taken in several hundred Rohingya migrants in Aceh Province. Even so, Indonesia — like Thailand and Malaysia — also fears "an uncontrolled influx."
'A Horrible Mess'
Australia, which has dealt with its own influx of economic migrants fleeing Indonesia, says it is providing millions of dollars in urgent humanitarian aid to help cope with the problem.
"There are no easy answers on any aspect of this horrible mess," Rieffel says.
The United States, for its part, has called on regional governments to work together to save lives, but State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke stresses: "This is a regional issue. It needs a regional solution in short order."
Comment by David Kimball
The article states "State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke stresses: "This is a regional issue. It needs a regional solution in short order.""
WRONG. The flowing of thousands of refugees and/or undocumented immigrants is a Global Issue. It is a primary issue in the Mediterranean, it is a primary issue in Southeast Asia, and it is a primary issue in the United States as well as Central and South America. This is a Global Issue and Global Issues can only be resolved with Global Solutions.
Unless the world comes to grips of what happens on these transnational transgressions, it will be a global economic factor that, like an untreated sore, will fester and become a major injury. We in the US need to address the problem along with all these other nations. If it is just left to regions, as the US State Department is recommending, it will continue to be unaddresed - just as it continues to be unaddresed here in the US.
When will the US realize that Global problems require Global solutions - not regional?
Reply by LarryL1970 to David Kimball
What are "global solutions" in this scenario? Certainly you don't suggest nations open their borders and allow unrestricted immigration? The math simply won't work and nations practicing that policy would soon be overwhelmed by the economic and social burdens. How do we find "global solutions' for entire continents where corruption, civil war, climate change, secular violence, religious strife, unchecked disease, and widespread illiteracy offer such formidable barriers to success? Who pays the bills?
(source: the two ways : breaking news from npr : npr.org May 15 2015)