The Asia Pacific is experiencing another major test of regional cooperation, reminiscent of the 2015 Andaman Sea crisis. In the first four months of 2020 there were more boat movements in the Andaman Sea than in all of 2019. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the vulnerability of forced migrants in refugee camps, on the move and at sea.
The COVID-19 pandemic, isolation, quarantine and a general change in the way we live our lives have impacted everyone in Australia, but some more than others. The pandemic has magnified existing inequalities and structural barriers to services and support. This has been particularly true for LGBTIQ+ people seeking asylum.
‘Five years on from the 2015 ‘boat crisis’ in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, in which thousands of refugees and migrants in distress at sea were denied life-saving care and support, we are alarmed that a similar tragedy may be unfolding once more.’