Outcome and follow up of the Debate on "Migrants" crisis

Dear fellow MSF HK Associate members,
MSF Hong Kong recently organized a workshop on forced migration and displacement in South East Asia 1, and debated the topic at its Annual General Assembly. It was overwhelmingly felt that MSF should re-affirm its commitment to addressing the humanitarian and medical needs of the boat people in South East Asia and Australia, and step up its efforts to get involved.
While supporting MSF’s response to the immense suffering of thousands of people who are forced to leave for European countries, we are troubled by the imbalance in the operational response. So far, MSF has remained almost silent on the crisis in South East Asia and Australia, and we observe an enormous difference in the allocation of financial and human resources. We welcome MSF’s
new projects in Malaysia (Penang) and Indonesia (Aceh) but we believe more needs to be done to address the humanitarian and medical needs of the refugees involved.
Following this, a Working Group specifically on this pressing issue has been formed in order to move forward with this notion. We wish to include the following recommendations:
1. The agreement for a distinct terminology that encompasses the common suffering of all in their journey; i.e. refugees vs asylum seekers vs migrants from a humanitarian point of view against a legal background.
2. To utilise and harness the associative and operational capacity, and resources already available in the MSF sections in the affected regions. A linked network of local key individuals and civil organisations from the affected region that coordinates, monitors,
shares real time information and responds to the refugees humanitarian crisis via MSF sections in the region.
3. The coordination of these associative and other resources will be undertaken by the MSF sections in the region to ensure that a contextually appropriate response is formulated.
4. To build meaningful partnerships and increase collaborative efforts with local civil society groups and authorities to enhance the effectiveness of our operations.
5. We call upon MSF’s Operational Centers to develop a global operational and advocacy strategy in response to the current worldwide refugee crisis. We understand there are regional specificities to each crisis, but the global nature of this emergency requires a comprehensive global approach by MSF.
We will work together with the other MSF sections in the region, MSF Australia and MSF Japan, to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis involving refugees in our region, and will meet early October in Tokyo for further follow up. In the meantime, we will share our position with the Operational Centers in Europe, but in particular with the OCA. We believe the OCA has a specific
responsibility to show leadership and guidance in this crisis considering their decades of involvement with the Rohingya population.
Thank you very much.
MSF Hong Kong Board

1 MSF-HK AGM Workshop on Migration and Displacement: “Regional Perspectives on the global migration crisis, the European and Asia Connection” – Hong Kong, April 28 th , 2015


By: Jennifer Wong