PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AP) — Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to provide temporary shelter to thousands of migrants stranded at sea in the first breakthrough in the humanitarian crisis confronting Southeast Asia.
The announcement was made Wednesday by Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman after a meeting with his counterpart from Indonesia and Thailand to address the plight of the migrants. Most of them are the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma and others are Bangladeshis fleeing poverty.
Anifah told reporters that the two countries agreed to give the estimated 7,000 stranded migrants temporary shelter “provided that the resettlement and repatriation process will be done in one year by the international community.”
A few thousand migrants have already made it to shore in Indonesia’s Aceh province and Malaysia’s Langkawi island.