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Time is Running Out to Save the Displaced on Asian Seas

The United Nations(UN) has condemned the refusal of South-East Asian nations to rescue thousands of displaced people adrift on the seas of Asia. 

As reported by the BBC-News earlier today, UN High Commission for Refugees(UNHCR) spokeswoman, Vivian Tan, described the failure of rescues of displaced Rohingya people refugees and migrants from Bangladesh over the weekend, as a "bad sign". And a very bad sign it is as aid agencies confront a grave and deepening humanitarian crisis as countries refuse to accept malnourished, thirsty and sick displaced people adrift on the sea.

"We were hoping that more ships would be found, and that more people would be rescued and allowed to come onto shore. Unfortunately, this didn't seem to happen," Ms Tan told the BBC. Many displaced people are believed to be still a sea on the Andaman seeking refuge from religious and social persecution in Myanmar and from economic hardships in Bangladesh. Yet, governments of South-East Asia have refused to grant many of the displaced people a safe haven.

Underscoring the desperation of the adrift displaced, survivors have confirmed severe undernourishment on board ships along with violent fights for scare food. Many vulnerable woman and children are among the drifting displaced.

But the unconscionable harshness of apathy South-East Asian nations have shown to the displaced is beyond comprehension and aptly worthy of the strongest condemnation from the UN and from all civil governments. 

South-East Asia has and will always need international aid because of its proneness to horrific natural disasters, and this reality and the stone-cold response from governments in the region to this humanitarian plight of the displaced people, should raise great concern as to the civility and compassion of Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia.

The BBC-News reported that Indonesian authorities have told fishermen not to help the adrift displaced people unless their boats were sinking or they were in the water. Indonesian military spokesperson, Fuad Basya, according to the BBC, said fishermen could deliver food, fuel and water to the boats, or help with repairs, but that bringing the displaced onto shore would constitute an illegal entry into Indonesia. Some fishermen reported that they were not allowed to help the "Sea People" even if they were drowning.

Therefore, the international community must stand in condemnation of those Asian nations that have deliberately violated the covenant of humanity in failing to house refugees. Moreover, civil society must immediately speed whatever relief could be gathered to aid the Rohingya people and other migrants on the seas of Asia.