ASIA/MALAYSIA - Malaysia and Indonesia welcome the Rohingya: "Compassion wins" says a Jesuit

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Kuala Lumpur (Agenzia Fides) - "It is a matter of compassion. It is a question of saving lives, men, women and children. The step carried out by the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia, which have agreed to accept the Rohingya refugees, is appreciable. The Malaysians, of all religions, show their mercy": said Jesuit Father Lawrence Andrew, SJ, director of the diocesan weekly of Kuala Lumpur, the Herald, who welcomes the news of the breakthrough in the crisis of the Rohingya Muslim migrants, for days adrift in the seas of Southeast Asia. "These migrants are human beings and have the right to life, have a dignity. Last Sunday we prayed for them in Malaysian churches", remarked the priest.
After the appeals made by the international community, from the UN and also from the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo, the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia abandoned the push-back policy, agreeing to provide temporary shelter to thousands of migrants stranded at sea. Governments, however, have asked for international help, saying that "the crisis is global, not regional".
"Indonesia and Malaysia have decided to provide humanitarian assistance to 7,000 irregular migrants at sea", said the Malaysian Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman, after a tripartite meeting with the ministers of Indonesia and Thailand. The two countries have agreed to provide them "temporary housing, provided that the process of resettlement and repatriation is completed within a year".
Thailand instead will contribute in humanitarian aid, but without hosting refugees on its soil, since already tens of thousands of refugees from Myanmar are present in the nation.
Meanwhile a flotilla of Indonesian fishermen rescued more than 430 Rohingya migrants today, bringing them safely on the shores of the island of Sumatra.
More than 3,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh have already landed in the three countries in recent weeks. It is believed that most of the migrants are victims of human traffickers who recruit them in Myanmar and Bangladesh with the promise to give them a job in Malaysia or in other countries of the area. According to the UN agency for refugees, more than 120 thousand Rohingya Muslims have left Myanmar via sea in the past three years. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 20/05/2015)