The foreign ministers of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand have agreed on temporary solutions to deal with the wave of migrants reaching their shores recently at a meeting on May 20 in Malaysia.

Malaysia and Indonesia will offer continued humanitarian assistance to nearly 7,000 illegal immigrants adrift at sea provided that they can be resettled or repatriated within a year. The two countries expressed hope that other countries in the region join the process, and law enforcement bodies of relevant countries share information on human trafficking.

The meeting between Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi in the Malaysian city of Putrajaya came as thousands of Bangladeshi and Rohingya boat people sailed across the sea to seek asylum in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the Ministers expressed concern over the boat people and condemned human trafficking while vowing all necessary actions to bring the perpetrators to justice.

They affirmed that the three countries should take necessary measures to deal with the migration, emphasising that a comprehensive and sustainable solution to the issue calls for the participation of concerned parties via different international mechanisms.

They called for the international community to share the burden and give assistance, particularly financial support to provide temporary shelters for illegal immigrants who will stay in designated areas under the watch of a joint special task force established by Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

The statement added that the international community also shares the responsibility for repatriating or resettling the migrants during the one-year period.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was urged to play an active role in dealing with the problem promptly and effectively, the statement said, calling for an urgent regional ministerial-level meeting on trans-national crime.

The above countries also welcomed the ASEAN’s initiative to establish a framework addressing human trafficking and supporting victims through the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons.-VNA