Myanmar seeks fair assessment of its actions in migrants crisis

Bangkok, June 4 (IANS) Myanmar has asked the UN to be fair and impartial in assessing its actions during the ongoing immigration crisis in Southeast Asia even as it prepares to deport to Bangladesh nearly 1,000 immigrants found on two boats in May, media reported on Thursday.

Several countries in the region and international organisations have blamed Myanmar for the exodus of immigrants, mainly Rohingyas, a Muslim minority fleeing persecution in the country.

“In addressing the issues of human trafficking and boat people, we would request that national and international organisations exercise great care to avoid creating misconceptions about our country and aggravating communal tensions and conflict,” Efe news agency quoted Myanmar parliament Speaker Shwe Mann as writing in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“Keeping in mind the peace and security of the whole world, including Myanmar, the international community needs to adopt an objective and impartial approach,” he added.

Myanmarese media also published a statement issued by Myanmar’s ministry of foreign sffairs that said that the government had reached an agreement with Bangladesh to begin repatriating the 942 immigrants found on the two boats from June 7 onwards.

On May 21, Myanmar authorities intercepted a boat carrying 208 Bangladeshis who continue to be held in the same area awaiting deportation.

The second boat was intercepted on May 29 carrying aboard 734 people, including women and children, all of whom have been put in temporary camps near the border with Bangladesh.

UN humanitarian agencies have not been allowed access to these immigrants as promised in the meeting held in Bangkok last Friday to discuss the immigration crisis, the Myanmar Times daily reported.

Representatives from 17 countries and international organisations who met in Bangkok on May 29 were unable to come up with a solution to end the persecution suffered by Rohingyas who are considered illegal immigrants by Myanmar authorities.

Since 2012, 153,300 Rohingyas, about 10 percent of whom live in Myanmar, have boarded boats operated by human-traffickers in an attempt to reach Malaysia, according to data released by human rights organisation Arakan Project.

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