Philippines offers help to Rohingya migrants

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Philippines has also come forward to help Rohingya and Bangladeshi boatpeople, who have been turned away by its Southeast Asian neighbours.

“Let us not fall short of providing humanitarian relief and assistance that is asked of us, as we pride ourselves to be a compassionate and hospitable people,” Senator Paolo Aquino said in a statement.

The statement came after Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Monday that the country has an obligation to admit and protect asylum seekers, even when the refugees do not have documents to prove their status.

“If there are boat people who come to us seeking the protection of our government, there is a process, there are existing mechanisms on how to handle these refugees or asylum seekers,” de Lima said.

At least 2,000 migrants stalked by hunger and violence have been trapped for weeks on boats off Myanmar, the UN said.

Nearly 3,000 people have been rescued over the past week off Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, but many others have been turned away. Fears are growing over the fate of thousands of others believed to be drifting on sea without food or water.

Rohingya Muslims face discrimination and persecution, in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.


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