United Nations (UN) agencies urged Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to step up sea rescue operations and stop preventing thousands of desperate migrants from reaching land.

In a joint statement, joined by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Human Rights Council called on the three countries to allow boats carrying migrants to reach land safe and sound.

The three Governments should also ensure adequate and humane reception conditions and establish screening procedures to identify those in need of international protection as refugees.

The appeal came given the report that thousands of men, women and children from Myanmar and Bangladesh were adrift in boats with dwindling supplies for more than 40 days.

The human rights organisations are particularly concerned about the fate of 300 migrants on a boat which was pushed back out to sea in Southeast Asia and have yet been heard for the past two days.

In response, the Myanmar Government on May 19 pledged to work with regional and international partners to deal with the migrant crisis.

The country has begun to repatriate more than 500 trafficked victims who were forced into fishing boats in Indonesia after they were found to be Myanmar citizens.

The same day, the Philippines and Australia confirmed to provide humanitarian aid to refugees from ethnic Rohingya community in Myanmar and Bangladesh .

Thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants have tried to cross the sea to Malaysia and Indonesia in recent years. Thailand is the first entrepot in the region’s human-trafficking network.-VNA