Assistant Secretary Anne C. Richard Travel to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia to Highlight U.S. Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants and Asylum Seekers in South East Asia

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 28, 2015

Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration will lead the U.S. delegation to the regional migration meeting hosted by the Government of Thailand in Bangkok on May 29. She will then travel to Kuala Lumpur and Alor Setar, Malaysia, from May 30 to June 1, and to Jakarta and Aceh, Indonesia, from June 1-3. In both Malaysia and Indonesia, she will meet with government officials, representatives of international organizations, and rescued migrants and asylum seekers.

The United States supports Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Burma in their efforts to address the plight of stranded and abused migrants and asylum seekers in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

With the support of the Malaysian government, the U.S. Navy is conducting daily maritime surveillance flights out of Subang, Malaysia, to locate boats carrying migrants. We are sharing information from these flights with regional partners to indicate the sea routes used by smugglers and to help locate boats still at sea. We will continue conducting flights as necessary to help provide support to regional governments as they work to rescue those stranded at sea and provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable migrants in the region.

The United States will also contribute to the emergency appeal by the International Organization for Migration to support the regional response. These funds will support a coordinated, regionally-led response that aims to: (1) ensure safety and security for migrants and protection to those who need it, including victims of human trafficking; (2) ensure humane and orderly management of migration and borders; and (3) address root causes, including long-standing human rights abuses and discriminatory policies in Burma and lack of economic opportunity in countries of origin. The details of U.S. efforts will be announced by Assistant Secretary Richard on Friday in Bangkok. This assistance will come in addition to the $109 million in humanitarian assistance provided over the last two years from the United States to support vulnerable Burmese, including Rohingya, in Burma and in the region.

The United States will continue to consider resettlement for the most vulnerable refugees as part of any international resettlement response led by UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Resettlement cannot be the primary solution to this current crisis but can serve as one part of a wider regional effort that addresses the root causes of migration and creates lasting solutions for those who flee their country out of fear. The United States has resettled more than 150,000 refugees from the region in the past decade, including more than 1,000 Rohingya this year.