Joint NGO Statement Ahead of the Special Meeting in Bangkok on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean

Following is the Joint Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) statement ahead of the intergovernmental Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean, being held on May 29, 2015 and hosted by the Royal Thai Government in Bangkok. The signatories below represent more than 600 non-governmental and civil society organizations operating across Asia and the Pacific regions.

We the undersigned welcome the decision of the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand to provide temporary shelter and protection to refugees and migrants rescued at sea as a step in the right direction.

We acknowledge that Thailand has called for a Special Meeting on Irregular Migration, on the 29th of May 2015 with 17 states invited to attend. We are hopeful that the meeting will pave the way for longer term, sustainable and durable solutions to address the irregular movements by sea from those seeking to escape poverty and/or persecution.

We are encouraged by announcements of the Indonesian, Malaysian, and Myanmar governments that search and rescue operations will be conducted to locate and rescue people in boats still at sea. We urge other governments to follow suit in conducting their own search and rescue operations.

We reiterate that all people who are in need have the right to request and receive humanitarian assistance and international protection with special attention paid to vulnerable women and children. All rescue at sea and interception operations should ensure access to disembarkation and access to full and fair asylum procedures for those who express a need for international protection. Furthermore, we believe that no refugee should be penalized as a result of the way that she or he entered a country. The reception arrangements for those rescued at sea should be in line with international standards.

All authorities involved in border and immigration management should treat all persons with dignity and respect and in accordance with their obligations under human rights law.

Practical protection safeguards are required to be put in place and the differentiated protection requirements of people in this mixed population movement must be taken into consideration.

We are committed to support the efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the population. We strongly urge the States involved to:

  1. Provide people rescued immediate access to humanitarian assistance, especially vulnerable women and children, with adequate food, water, health care, shelter and sanitation.
  2. Allow and facilitate access by humanitarian agencies and international organizations with protection mandates.
  3. Ensure that people rescued at sea are not penalized for the way they have entered the country.
  4. Those in need of international protection should be given access to asylum procedures.
  5. Explore and pursue durable solutions with processes that draw input from affected persons.
  6. Ensure procedural transparency and accountability to affected persons such that they are accorded due process of law and are fully informed of their rights and responsibilities and the limitations and time frames of any proposed solution.
  7. Urgently develop regional and national solutions that address the root causes of refugee and migrant outflows.


  1. Action Aid
  2. Action Contre la Faim
  3. Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma
  4. AMAL Human Development Network
  5. Amnesty International Australia
  6. Asia Disaster Risk and Response Network
  7. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
  8. Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network
  9. Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition
  10. Australian Council for International Development
  11. Australian National Committee on Refugee Women
  12. Badhan Hijra Sangha, Bangladesh
  13. Bangladesh Women’s Health Coalition
  14. BRAC 15. Burma Partnership
  15. Business and Welfare Initiatives Bangladesh
  16. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association
  17. CARAM Asia Berhad
  18. CARAM Asia Network
  19. CARAM Cambodia
  20. Catholic Office for Emergency Relief and Refugees
  21. Centre for Migration Research and Development, Sri Lanka
  22. Centre for Participatory Research and Development, Bangladesh
  23. Centre for Refugee Research, University of New South Wales
  24. Children and Women Trust, Pakistan
  25. Church World Service 27. Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust, Bangladesh
  26. Community Development Services, Sri Lanka
  27. Community World Service Asia
  28. Empower India
  29. Equal Rights Trust
  30. Equity and Justice Working Group, Bangladesh
  31. Fortify Rights
  32. Gonggam Human Rights Law Foundation
  33. Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
  34. Human Rights Working Group, Indonesia
  35. IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
  36. Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion
  37. International Council of Voluntary Agencies
  38. International Movement of Catholic Students Asia Pacific
  39. International Refugee Rights Initiative
  40. ISDE Bangladesh
  41. Jakarta Legal Aid Institute
  42. Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific
  43. Knights for Peace, International
  44. Law Life Culture, Bangladesh
  45. Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid
  46. Light House, Bangladesh
  47. MAP Foundation, Thailand
  48. Mercy Malaysia
  49. Migrant Working Group, Thailand
  50. Migration Working Group, Malaysia
  51. Migrante International
  52. Minority Rights Organization, Cambodia
  53. Nepal Institute of Development Studies
  54. Norwegian Refugee Council
  55. Occupational Opportunities for Refugees & Asylum Seekers, Australia
  56. Overseas Services to Survivors of Torture and Trauma
  57. Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program, Bangladesh
  58. Oxfam Australia
  59. Oxfam Great Britain
  60. Oxfam International
  61. Participatory Research Action Network, Bangladesh
  62. Prodipan Bangladesh
  63. Refugee Council of Australia
  64. Refugee Rights Network Pakistan
  65. Resource Integration Centre, Bangladesh
  66. Rights Jessore, Bangladesh
  67. Same Skies, Indonesia
  68. Shikha Shatha Unnayan Kazakram, Bangladesh
  69. Settlement Services International
  70. Society for Human Rights and Prisoners Aid, Pakistan
  71. St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre, Hong Kong
  72. SUAKA, Indonesia Civil Society Network for Refugee Protection
  73. Swahili Speaking Refugee Women Advocacy Services, Australia
  74. Thai Commission for Refugees Foundation
  75. Vietnamese Human Rights Defenders and Activists
  76. WhyDev, Australia
  77. World Vision International – Asia Pacific
  78. Yayasan Kelompok Kerja Sosial Perkotaan, Indonesia
  79. Youth Advocacy Network South Asia
  80. Zo Indigenous Forum, Indi

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.


  • NGOs applaud decision of governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand to provide temporary shelter and protection to refugees and migrants rescued at sea.
  • Committed to providing humanitarian aid to those in need