PH to attend 15-nation consultation meeting on Rohingya crisis
The Philippines will send a delegation to 15-nation consultations called by the Thai government in hopes of addressing the worsening Rohingya crisis, which has left thousands of refugees from Myanmar stranded at sea in “destitute” conditions.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said this on Friday, adding that the Department of Foreign Affairs would lead the country’s delegation to the meeting set on May 29 in Bangkok.
“On the 29th, there’s this meeting in Bangkok, and the Philippines has been invited. And DFA will be leading the delegation to that… [the meeting is for] I think an action plan. They will of course discuss the matter (the Rohingya crisis),” De Lima told reporters.
She gave the interview following a meeting with Bernard Kerblat, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Philippines, at the Department of Justice Friday afternoon.
De Lima said the Philippine government was still firming up its stand on the issue, even while she had earlier expressed the country’s willingness to take in the Rohingyas if they come to the country’s shores, in honor of the country’s obligations to international treaties pertaining to refugees and stateless people.
De Lima said Asean countries, as well as Australia and the United States, are expected to take part in the consultations.
Kerblat said three UN agencies will also take part in the talks: the UNHCR, the UN Office for Drug and Crime Control and the International Organization on Migration.
Thousands of people belonging to the Rohingya Muslim minority have been stranded at sea, escaping persecution in Burma (Myanmar), which for decades has been driving them away.
Human traffickers who have been shipping them to camps in southern Thailand were known to have abandoned them at sea, with no food or water.
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