Resource information

Date of publication: 
May 2014
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Irregular maritime movements of
mixed populations that include
persons of concern to UNHCR
have been prevalent in the Asia-
Pacific region for many years, but
movements through South-East
Asia, largely originating from the
Bay of Bengal, have increased at a
particularly rapid rate following
inter-communal violence in
Myanmar in June 2012. Since
then, some 87,000 people are
estimated to have departed by
sea from the Bangladesh-
Myanmar border area.

This trend has continued through the first half of
2014, during which the main
route of irregular maritime movement in South-East
Asia remained the
journey through the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea f
rom the Bangladesh-
Myanmar maritime border to the Malaysia-Thailand ma
ritime border. Other
irregular maritime movements passing through South-
East Asia followed
routes through the Indian Ocean from South Asia and
Indonesia to Australia,
and across the Strait of Malacca from Malaysia to I

Although the precise number of people travelling on
such routes is unknown
and likely much greater than what has been reported
, UNHCR is aware of over
20,000 irregular maritime departures from the Bangl
adesh-Myanmar border
area in the first half of 2014, in addition to hund
reds who have attempted the
boat journey to Australia.

Given the high proportion and total number of perso
ns of concern to UNHCR
departing by sea from the Bangladesh-Myanmar border
, as well as a lack of
access to those who travelled along other routes, t
his report largely focuses
on the journey between the Bangladesh-Myanmar borde
r and the Malaysia-
Thailand border.

Irregular maritime movements are by their nature cl
andestine, making the
data on such movements difficult to independently v
erify. The information in
this report is compiled from various sources, inclu
ding direct interviews with
persons of concern, implementing partners, media re
ports, and governments

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