Resolving Rohingya statelessness issues is key

Arifa
By April 20, 2015 05:57

Resolving Rohingya statelessness issues is key

 As the Asean chair, Myanmar had banned any talk about the ongoing persecution against the Rohingya Muslims. The generals and other cabinet members would have given themselves pats on the back for having successfully dodged questions about the minority community.

It’s really nothing more than a group of powerful people who indulge in much backslapping and handshakes, sit at dinner tables pretending all is well and ignore raising crucial issues to ensure they themselves are not put in a tight spot.

Which mean if at all any member country bothered to demand answers from Myanmar, that is.

We cannot allow for the same script, expensive dinners and pretentious meetings next week, as the heads of states converge again for the Asean meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s federal capital.

If last year China’s territorial ambitions on the South China Sea was a crucial issue, this year the plight of the Rohingya deserves serious attention.

And as the chair of Asean, Malaysia must ensure that this is brought to the discussion table. Furthermore, Malaysia has an added responsibility as it vouched for the inclusion of Myanmar in Asean.

The persecution and targeted killings of the innocent Rohingyas show no signs of ending. And as the country gears up for the next election in November this year, there is fear of another escalation of violence against the Rohingya and other Muslim communities in the country.

The reality for the Rohingya in Myanmar remains one that is shrouded in hopelessness and uncertainty. They live in overcrowded displaced peoples’ camps in Sittwe, which lack basic sanitation.

Lack of access to clean drinking water means waterborne diseases are high. Food is still scarce despite intervention from the World Food Programme.

Recent travels by filmmakers and photographers to these camps reveal that women are forcefully taken away for sex by the military and boys and men often go missing or end up dead.

Therefore, Asean cannot hide under its non-interference policy any more or shut a blind eye to the gross human rights violations and state-sponsored genocide against the Rohingya.

Asean member countries must pressure Myanmar and lobby for the Rohingya to be recognised as the country’s citizens once again.

Asean leaders must push for Myanmar to look into the Rohingya’s right of return to their homeland.

Over the years, Asean has been ridiculed as the toothless tiger. If Kuala Lumpur winds up the annual meeting, glossing over the Rohingya issue, then Asean will certainly have to bear the shameful stigma of ridicule for many more years to come.

Note:Changes have been made,malaysiakini is not responsible for these.

Source:malaysiakini

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Arifa
By April 20, 2015 05:57

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