The refugee crisis in Southeast Asia is growing. Thousands of Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants are stranded in the waters off Thailand. The BBC reports:
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) told the BBC a Thai crackdown on recent arrivals meant many smugglers were now reluctant to land.
As many as 8,000 people are believed to be stuck on boats, the IOM said.
In the past two days more than 2,000 have arrived in Malaysia or Indonesia after being rescued or swimming ashore.
Jeff Labovitz, head of mission for IOM Asia Pacific, told the BBC that the discovery last week of dozens of human remains in abandoned camps in the south of Thailand had prompted a police crackdown and therefore people smugglers were holding their boats at sea.
As refugee flows grow around the world, it is increasingly difficult to find places for them. At the end of World War II, refugee flows were huge; over time the flow has slowed. Now, in our New World Disorder, refugee flows are picking up once again. We are also seeing growing public resistance in many countries to accepting refugees.
These trends are connected. Public opinion in most countries might be willing to help relatively small numbers of refugees. But when a tsunami of desperate people threatens to grow in definitely, resistance increases. Scenes like that in Thailand are heart-wrenching—and likely to grow more frequent. Ultimately, the best way to help refugees is for the United States and our allies to work against the conditions that create them.