Pope Asks for Help for Migrants Stranded in SE Asia

Crackdown in Thailand Means Thousands Are Abandoned at Sea


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On Sunday at the end of the Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis again voiced his concern for the fate of the many refugees stranded at sea in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

The Pope was referring to the migration/human trafficking crisis that has worsened in Southeast Asia over the last month. Dozens of shallow graves have been found in both Malaysia and Thailand, where smugglers have set up camps for their human trafficking operation, mostly involving Rohingya Muslims trying to escape Myanmar by boat across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

Malaysia today reported having found 139 graves and signs of torture.

Thailand found a similar scene earlier this month, spurring a crackdown on the trafficking operation there. However this has resulted in several thousand migrants being abandoned at sea.

The United Nations refugee agency said Friday some 3,500 people are on boats offshore.

The Holy Father expressed his appreciation for the efforts made by those countries which “have shown their willingness to welcome these people who face great suffering and danger,” and urged the international community to offer humanitarian aid.

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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