New York

14 May 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on situation in Andaman Sea and Straits of Malacca

The Secretary-General is concerned about the crisis evolving in the Andaman Sea and Straits of Malacca, where several thousand people are believed to be stranded on smugglers’ boats. He is alarmed by reports that some countries may be refusing entry to boats carrying refugees and migrants.

The Secretary-General urges Governments to ensure that the obligation of rescue at sea is upheld and the prohibition on refoulement is maintained.  He also urges Governments  to facilitate  timely  disembarkation and keep their borders and ports open in order to help the vulnerable people who are in need.

The Secretary-General has taken note of the efforts to organise a regional summit and calls on all leaders of Southeast Asia to intensify individual and collective efforts to address this worrying situation and tackle the root causes, which are often human rights violations. In this regard, he reminds States of their obligations under international law; he emphasizes the need for a timely, comprehensive, rights-based, and effective response.