Migrants challenge ASEAN to save the Rohingya at sea, immediately resolve the crisis

A vision of doom for the Rohingya people, for the trafficked peoples? Is this the vision of the ASEAN?

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) strongly criticizes all member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for continuing to delay the much needed response and action on the ongoing crisis besetting the Rohingya people currently stranded at sea. Condemnation in the strongest terms goes to the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia for outrightly refusing entry and refuge to the stranded Rohingya.

While a thousand Rohingya people, with some Bangladeshis, have been offered refuge in the island of Aceh, thousands more are feared to be left at sea, without proper food, clean water or protection.

We raise the alarm as news reports come of bad detention camps and migrant graves being discovered along the Thailand-Malaysia border. As crackdowns are undertaken specifically by the Thai authorities on 300+ suspected traffickers, the situation of the Rohingya people is left unattended.

The Rohingya crisis is not an issue of a border crisis or a national security issue. It is a human rights issue, a peoples’ issue, an ASEAN concern and responsibility.

We condemn the Myanmar government for continuing to aggravate the situation by shunning the Rohingya people, treating them as illegal migrants, as less than humans. We condemn the Malaysia and Thailand governments for refusing entry to the stranded-at-sea Rohingya. Equally worthy of condemnation are the other members of the ASEAN who are not lifting a finger to even assist the Rohingya.

What’s the business of the ASEAN if not attend to the people most in need, in this case the Rohingya? Is this the vision, identity, the community they want to make and project to the world – that they are anti-Rohingya, numb to the needs of the people in distress but welcoming to business interests as in their vision of the ASEAN Economic Community?

We challenge the ASEAN to take action now. Bring the Rohingya and all stranded-at-sea to the land, provide them with necessary sustenance, assistance and protection, and address the Rohingya crisis immediately by recognizing and following international laws and conventions that shall truly benefit the Rohingya and not leave them at bay – to die.

As we say this, the IMA calls on all its members and friends around the world to drumbeat the campaign to save the Rohingya from an imminent yet avoidable disaster and bring to justice those who are truly responsible for this – from the traffickers to governments.

For reference: Eni Lestari, chairperson

Justice for the 26! Investigate the jungle graves in Thailand!

There will be no peace for those who have perished or for their families if justice is not served.

This is the statement of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) as it calls on the Thai government to allow an immediate, independent and credible investigation of the jungle camps where 26 bodies of alleged victims of human trafficking have been found early May 2015. The trafficked victims, said to be Rohingya Muslims, have apparently died from starvation of disease.

A few days after, more jungle graves almost 200 meters from the Thailand-Malaysia border were discovered. However, no bodies were found.

According to news reports, the victims were made to stay under the harsh conditions in the jungle until ransom has been paid by their families to the smugglers or trafficking syndicates.

For the IMA, this is a clear violation of the human rights of peoples, especially for the Rohingya people. They have been denied citizenship and shunned both by the Burma/Myanmar and Bangladesh governments. They have been inhumanely treated on so many occasions. It can be remembered that more than 200 were killed and many thousand families displaced when a bloody conflict arose between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar last 2012.

The Rohingyas have suffered enough. They should be given justice. And this investigation is one step closer to that.

The IMA, a global alliance of grassroots migrants, refugees and displaced peoples, will closely monitor this situation and will be working with various groups in relevant areas and countries.

Save the Rohingya!

Eni Lestari, chairperson

IMA Statement for International Labor Day (May 1, 2015)

For Mary Jane, For All Migrant Workers

Continue the struggle for rights, life, dignity and against capitalist exploitation and abuse

IMA Statement for May 1, 2015


On with the struggle, on with victory for migrants and the people.

The International Migrants Alliance congratulates on this International Labor Day all workers and their many friends, supporters and advocates for building and winning a strong international campaign for fellow migrant worker, Mary Jane Veloso. Truly, the campaign for Mary Jane is a strong expression of international solidarity.

Mary Jane was a victim of human and drug trafficking. After languishing in jail for five long years waiting for her execution by firing squad, she had no one else to turn to. But Migrante International, a global alliance of Filipino migrant organizations and member of the IMA, took her case and, together with the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers (ATKI-HK), Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU-HK) as well as migrant-serving institutions and Indonesia-based people’s organizations, took the lead in the campaign to save her life. Continue reading