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MOAS: new mission in South-Est Asia

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Maltese NGO is preparing to reach the Bay of Bengal, where Rohingyas are escaping from Myanmar. “Our job in the Mediterranean is not over but we now feel it is our responsibility over the winter months to use the M.Y. Phoenix in another part of the world facing an equally challenging but severely underreported crisis “, said MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone.

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Not only Europe has involved in refugees issue. Another of the main worldwide migrant route is in South-Est Asia and concerning the Rohingyas. Since 2012, they’re persecuted from Myanmar government because the majority is Muslim and they are even considered foreigners. The other minority is composed by Bangladeshis, who live in poverty. During 2014 and 2015, more of them has tried to reach Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia but, after a temporary reception, they has been repulsed.

This geopolitical context, equivalent to Mediterranean and Europe backgrounds, has encouraged MOAS to return today from Mediterranean mission of Summer 2015 and to expand its mission to South-Est Asia because, as reported by UNHCR, more than 1,100 Bangladeshis and Rohingyas drowned between January 2014 and June 2015 and the number of crossings is expected to increase this year.

According to MOAS, Maltese NGO “has saved more than 11,500 men, women and children from the Mediterranean Sea. The M.Y. Phoenix will be returning to its base in Malta today to prepare for a month-long journey to the Bay of Bengal. ”

“MOAS has helped establish a robust search and rescue presence in the Mediterranean Sea, which today sees a number of publicly and privately funded vessels working to stop preventable deaths,” said MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone.

“Our job in the Mediterranean is not over but we now feel it is our responsibility over the winter months to use the M.Y. Phoenix in another part of the world facing an equally challenging but severely underreported crisis. Through this action, MOAS will be shedding light on another aspect of this pressing global phenomenon in an area where there is no known NGO rescue presence at sea. Once the monsoon rains subside, tens of thousands of Rohingya and others are expected to resume their dangerous sea crossings,” he added.
Giacomo Pratali

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