U.S. Assistant Secretary Announces New U.S. Support for Regional Humanitarian Response to Indian Ocean Migration

Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Anne C. Richard, visited the Kingdom of Thailand May 28-29, leading the U.S. delegation to the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean hosted by the Government of Thailand in Bangkok on May 29.

In her remarks at the meeting, Assistant Secretary Richard stressed the U.S. commitment to support regionally-led efforts to address the challenges of irregular migration in order to save lives and address the root causes of migration. She also emphasized the importance for governments and international organizations to work together to develop safe, orderly, and legal migration opportunities, and to ensure the human rights of migrants and people in source countries. She offered U.S. assistance to exchange best practices to address and prevent migrant smuggling, human trafficking, and other abuses against migrants. She also urged regional governments to develop protocols for responding to irregular migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and victims of trafficking in persons at sea in order to provide protection to those who need it, while humanely returning those who do not. “Working together we can do this in ways that enhance the region’s security, stability, and prosperity,” she stated.

Assistant Secretary Richard also announced a contribution of $3 million to the emergency appeal by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support the regional response. These funds will support a coordinated, regionally-led response that aims to ensure safety and security for migrants, ensure humane and orderly management of migration and borders, and to address the root causes of irregular migration. This assistance will complement the $109 million in humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable Burmese in Burma and in the region that the U.S. Government has already provided over the last two years.