Do not push back boats
The United States has urged the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to refrain from pushbacks of new boats with Bangladeshi migrants and Rohingyas at sea.
"We urge the countries of the region to work together quickly, first and foremost, to save the lives of migrants now at sea who are in need of an immediate rescue effort," said Jeff Rathke, spokesperson for the US Department of State.
"This is an emergency that US believes needs to be addressed with appropriate speed and resolve through a regionally coordinated effort to save lives of the thousands of vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers," he said.
At a daily briefing in Washington on Friday, the spokesperson said they were concerned over the urgent situation faced by thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants at sea in Southeast Asia.
He said the (US) secretary called his Thai counterpart Thursday night to discuss the situation of migrants in the Andaman Sea and possibility of Thailand providing temporary shelter for them.
US ambassadors in the region were intensely engaged with governments to encourage a rapid humanitarian response, he mentioned.
The United States notes that nearly 3,000 people have landed this week in Indonesia and Malaysia, where they are receiving assistance, the spokesperson added.
"We appreciate the steps taken by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to assist these migrants, and urge continued coordination with the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees and the International Organisation for Migration," he said.
The United States is discussing ways that it can continue to support the regionally-led efforts in this crisis.
"We plan to send a senior delegation to the regional conference hosted by Thailand in Bangkok on May 29," Rathke said.