Check with seller MANILA : PH ready to assist ‘boatpeople’ refugees wandering in SEA waters

Ad ID: 1140
Published date: May 19, 2015
  • Location: Philippines

The Victoria Chronicle 

: 05.19.15 : Tuesday 



< HEADLINE NEWS >


INTERNATIONAL POLITICS:


PH ready to assist ‘boatpeople’ refugees wandering in SEA waters


The Philippines is ready to provide relief and assistance to involuntarily displaced individuals from Myanmar now wandering in the waters of Southeast Asia, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Philippines is a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

“The Philippines, as a state party to relevant instruments, such as the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, concretely manifested its solidarity with the United Nations (UN) in providing succor and relief to persons involuntarily displaced from their homelands as a consequence of political conflict,” Coloma said.

“We shall continue to do our share in saving lives under existing and long-standing mechanisms pursuant to our commitments under the Convention,” he added.

Coloma recalled that the Philippines had extended humanitarian assistance to Vietnamese “boat people” in the 1970s following the Vietnam War.

Thousands of Rohingyan Muslims have been fleeing Myanmar because of the alleged government crackdown on minority Muslims. Many of them have fled to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, but many thousands of others are said to be still wandering in the seas around these three countries because of their policy of refusing to let them land.

DOJ STATEMENT

The Philippine government will allow undocumented “boat people” to stay in the country provided that they are genuine asylum seekers from impoverished Myanmar and Bangladesh, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said yesterday.

Secretary De Lima, a former chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, said the Philippines is willing to share with other Southeast Asian countries its experience in the management of asylum seekers, with its history of hosting refugees since it became a signatory to the 1951 Convention that was adopted on July 22,1981.

She also cited how the Philippines provided asylum to 1,500 Jews refugees who had been denied asylum in other countries as early as World War II.

“Asylum seekers cannot always be expected to obtain travel documents, particularly where the agent of persecution is the state. Hence their situation deserves to be treated and examined in a different context,” she said.

While the Philippine government is open to provide asylum to boat seekers, Secretary De Lima said that the Department of Justice, through its attached agency Bureau of Immigration, will remain vigilant on the possible victims of human smuggling who will attempt to enter the country. (With a report from Leonard D. Postrado)


Manila Bulletin
by Madel Sabater - Namit
May 19, 2015

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NOTE : All photographs have been taken from the Internet.

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