Asia boatpeople pushed back to sea as U.N. calls for rescue

May 13th, 2015  
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Topic: Asia boatpeople pushed back to sea as U.N. calls for rescue

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia will continue to push boats holding thousands of migrants back to sea, a senior Thai official said on Wednesday, despite a U.N. appeal for a rapid rescue operation to avoid a humanitarian crisis. Several thousand migrants, many of them hungry and sick, are adrift in Southeast Asian seas in boats that have been abandoned by smugglers following a Thai government crackdown on human trafficking, the United Nations has said. "Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have decided not to receive boat people, as far as I am aware," Major General Werachon Sukhondhapatipak, spokesman for Thailand's ruling junta, told Reuters. He declined to comment on the UN refugee agency UNHCR's appeal on Tuesday for an international search and rescue operation to rescue the thousands stranded on the seas between Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.


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