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Telangana Minister suggests Central Government to establish a Centralised data bank on Migrants in the Gulf region

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Hyderabad May 8, 2017: Telangana’s Minister for NRI Affairs K.T. Rao on Monday suggested the Centre establish a centralised data bank on migrants in the Gulf region.

Rao made the suggestion at a meeting called by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on issues related to Gulf migrants in New Delhi.

He said all states should have access to the centralised data to identify who all were moving to the countries in the Gulf.

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An official statement said the Minister also sought appointment of translators of Telugu language at all embassy offices in the Gulf countries.

Rao also urged the central government to come up with a specific policy for legal assistance to migrants by recruiting Indian-origin lawyers abroad. He also suggested an agreement with all Gulf nations to allow Indian migrant prisoners to complete their respective sentences in Indian jails.

As a few companies are unlawfully taking away passport of Indian migrants, Rao urged Sushma Swaraj to raise this human rights violation issue with authorities concerned.

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He also urged the MEA to form a Group of Ministers (GoM) to discuss and emulate the best practices among states regarding issuance of passports, as well as welfare activities for the Gulf migrants.

Sushma Swaraj assured him on the GoM, which will meet once in three months to discuss the migrants’ issues.

The meeting was attended by two central ministers and ambassadors from Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. (IANS)

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With The End Of Sea Rescue Operations, Migrants Death Will Increase: U.N.

The International Organization for Migration reports more than 2,100 people have died making the dangerous sea crossing from Libya to Europe this year.

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Refugees, Migrants
Lifejackets piled on this Greek beach have come to stand for the rigors and danger that migrants face trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. VOA

Leading U.N. humanitarian agencies warn migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea will multiply with the end of sea and rescue operations by Doctors Without Borders and its partner SOS Mediterranee.

The two international charities were pressured by the European Union to put their ship, the Aquarius into dry dock and abandon their life-saving rescue mission.

The Aquarius has been docked in Marseille, France, since early October after Panama revoked its registration at the behest of the right-wing, anti-immigration Italian government.

Refugees, Migrants
In this Aug. 27, 1994 file photo, U.S. Coast Guard crew from the cutter Staten Island are hindered by rough seas in the Florida Straits as they attempt to rescue Cuban refugees. VOA

Italy claims these operations encourage migrants to make the perilous sea journey. It says ending these activities will save lives, a claim hotly disputed by U.N. officials.

UN refugee agency spokeswoman, Shabia Mantoo, says search-and-rescue capacity needs to be reinforced rather than diminished.

“So, we do continue to call strongly for increasing search-and-rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean and for leaving space for NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) to contribute in a coordinated manner to these efforts,” said Mantoo. “Saving lives is our primary concern.”

Since it began operations in February 2016, the Aquarius has helped nearly 30,000 refugees and migrants in distress find a safe haven. U.N. Human Rights Spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, tells VOA she is deeply concerned by recent developments.

Refugees, Migrants
Representational Image of Refugees. Wikimedia Commons.

“The provision of support and assistance to migrants must not be criminalized,” said Shamdasani. “The decrease of search-and-rescue by humanitarian organizations and States failure to provide adequate search-and-rescue capacity is resulting in an increase of migrants, an increase of vulnerability of migrants at sea.”

Also Read: Refugees’ Entitled To Claim The Right To Asylum in The U.S: U.N.

Shamdasani says the death rate in the Central Mediterranean this year is much higher than in previous years. She says States must protect the lives and safety of migrants and ensure those who are at risk are rescued and offered immediate assistance.

The International Organization for Migration reports more than 2,100 people have died making the dangerous sea crossing from Libya to Europe this year. This is nearly two-thirds of the more than 3,300 deaths recorded globally in 2018. (VOA)