Myanmar says its migrants were seeking jobs, not fleeing persecution

Global News

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar said Thursday that thousands of migrants left the country to seek better jobs elsewhere, and were not fleeing persecution, a day after bringing to shore about 730 migrants, the latest arrivals in Southeast Asia’s ongoing crisis.

Foreign Affairs Minister Wunna Maung Lwin’s remarks were Myanmar’s latest denial of any blame for the humanitarian crisis. More than 4,600 desperate and hungry boat people have been rescued in five countries since early May after a regional crackdown on smugglers prompted some captains to abandon their human cargo at sea.

The United Nations has said about half of those who have come ashore were Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar, and the rest were Bangladeshis escaping poverty.

“It is not true that the migrants from Myanmar fled because of discrimination or persecution in Myanmar,” the foreign minister said during a briefing to foreign diplomats about the crisis. “They are…

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