Amnesty International has urged governments attending the Regional Summit on Irregular Migration in Bangkok on 29 May to cooperate and take immediate action to protect people whose lives are at risk in South East Asian waters in an open letter dated 22 May.
The letter continues, ”Any national and regional measures must meet governments’ responsibilities under international law and respect the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers. Governments must also adopt measures to address the root causes of the current crisis.
Amnesty International is calling on governments to meet their responsibilities under international human rights law and standards. ASEAN Member States must abide by the Charter of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN Charter), in particular Article 7, which lists among the ASEAN Principles and Purposes the duty to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms (Article 1(7)).”
It concludes, ‘Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have hosted persons fleeing discrimination and persecution for decades, but lack an adequate legal regime, policies and practices for the protection of their rights. The recent crisis, where thousands of lives remain at risk at sea, has only highlighted the absence of such a protection framework. The summit offers the opportunity for governments in the region to develop and maintain a strong regional protection framework which is consistent with the ASEAN Charter and respects international human rights law.”