Myanmar to work with BD, other countries on “boat people” issue

Myanmar has pledged to cooperate with Bangladesh and other countries to address the issue of “boat people” at sea, hoping that the issue will be resolved amicably with Bangladesh as the latter is a friendly neighbor of Myanmar, said a statement of Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry published Sunday.

However, Myanmar, like other affected countries, faces difficulties in continuing to receive and temporarily shelter more “boat people,” thai_5the statement said, adding temporary shelter and humanitarian assistance is solely on the humanitarian ground.

Vowing continued cooperation with other countries to address the issue of irregular movement at sea and “boat people,” the statement said Myanmar will send a senior official delegation to participate in the meeting on irregular migration in the Indian Ocean scheduled for May 29 in Bangkok, Thailand.

In its regular patrolling in Myanmar territorial waters, Myanmar navy intercepted two suspected fishing trawlers off the western coast of Maungtaw, western Rakhine state on Thursday, one of which has 208 people on board and the other has no passenger, according to the statement.

The two trawlers are now docking at the Annumaw port and a temporary camp has been set up at Ale Than Kyaw village to provide temporary shelter, food, healthcare and other humanitarian assistance to the passengers, it said.

It was verified that the “boat people” are from Bangladesh and an invitation for consular access to the matter from Bangladesh is being extended, the statement added.

Meanwhile, Myanmar immigration authorities repatriated 11 Bangladeshi refugees who drifted to shore near Oodaung village in Maungtaw, Rakhine state, recently after being forced to jump off a boat bound for Malaysia.