The Journey of Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Children Across the Andaman Sea

This report reviews the maritime movements of refugees and migrants across South East Asia, focusing on refugee and asylum-seeking children and their experiences in countries of origin, transit and destination. This journey typically begins in Myanmar and Bangladesh where refugees and migrants cross the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea to Thailand, where they often continue to destination countries such as Malaysia and Australia.

In May 2015, a maritime humanitarian crisis arose when smugglers abandoned up to 8,000 people in the Andaman Sea and the Strait of Malacca. Desperate men, women and children were stranded in the ocean for weeks. Focusing on refugee and asylum-seeking children in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia who survived this crisis, the findings of Save the Children's research reinforce much of the literature regarding patterns of discrimination and inequality that children on the move experience in regard to their legal status, access to education, physical and mental health, housing, food security and livelihoods, as well as issues of violence, abuse and exploitation.

The study underlines the urgent need to establish domestic and cross-border child‑sensitive, protection-oriented systems to ensure protection for refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children. It is essential to ensure that they are not detained under any circumstances and are provided with healthcare and quality education.

Published 2016-12-04

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