[아시아엔=편집국] 방글라데시와 미얀마 해상 난민이 5월10~13일 나흘간 최소 1500명이 말레이시아와 인도네시아에 상륙했다고 영국 <이코노미스트>가 13일 보도했다. 최근 언론들은 고기잡이 배를 타고 수개월째 바다 위에서 구조를 기다리고 있는 동남아 해상난민의 처참한 상황을 앞다퉈 보도하고 있다.
태국과 말레이시아 당국은 근해를 떠돌고 있는 난민선의 상륙을 불허해 난민들 상황은 더욱 악화되고 있다. <이코노미스트>는 “난민 6000여명이 식량과 물도 없이 고기잡이배를 탄 채 해상에서 떠돌고 있다”고 전했다.
최근 말레이시아 당국은 “랑카위에 도착한 불법이민자 1158명을 체포해 이들 중 300명을 벨란틱 구금시설로 이송했다”고 밝혔다. 한편 아시아국가연합(ASEAN)은 이들 미얀마 및 방글라데시 등에서 종교 등을 이유로 해상을 떠도는 난민문제 해결을 논의하기 위해 긴급대책 마련에 나설 방침이라고 밝혔다.
<Economist> South-East Asia’s migrant crisis: traffickers, migrants in search of shores to land
During the period from 2015 May 10th to 13th, more than 1,500 migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar have landed onto the shores of Malaysia and Indonesia and coastguards across South-East Asia have been expecting more. Panicked by a government crackdown that has lately made it impossible for people-smugglers to land in Thailand – their usual destination – traffickers have taken to abandoning their vessels near any convenient coastline. As the traffickers leave the migrants floating with limited supplies, nearly 6,000 people may still be at sea.
Malaysia insists it will not allow any more migrants to land; Indonesia says it has already towed at least one boat back into international waters and Thailand wants to discuss a regional approach to the crisis at an international summit slated for May 29th, but for those still afloat that will be far too late.
Malaysia will soon hold a discussion with Bangladesh and Myanmar to find solutions to the influx of illegal immigrants from the two countries.
Thailand would also be invited to the discussion as most cases of smuggling of migrants involving those from Myanmar and Bangladesh were done through the Malaysia-Thailand border.
A total of 1,158 illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar, including Rohingya Muslims, 993 of whom were men, 104 women and 61 children (486 of them Myanmar nationals and 672 Bangladesh nationals) were reported to have landed in Langkawi during the period from May 10 to 13. According to Kedah Immigration Department director Mohamad Yusri Hashim, 300 illegal immigrants were transported to Belantik Immigration Detention Depot in Sik. They were taken on boats from Langkawi Island to Kuala Kedah jetty before being transported by trucks to the depot.
Mohamad Yusri said “they were detained for not having valid travel documents and the rest of the immigrants would also be transported to the depot in stages”.