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Rakhine Crisis: Myanmar state counselor calls on ASEAN for support

Rakhine is home to roughly 1.1 million stateless Muslim Rohingya who live in squalid refugee camps after being displaced by communal violence with Rakhine Buddhists in 2012

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Rakhine Crisis
Aung San Suu Kyi. Wikimedia
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  • Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday asked member states of a regional economic and security organization for “constructive support” in resolving the Rakhine Crisis
  • Rakhine is home to roughly 1.1 million stateless Muslim Rohingya who live in squalid refugee camps after being displaced by communal violence with Rakhine Buddhists in 2012 that left more than 200 people dead
  • “We are working to build understanding, harmony and trust between communities while standing firm against prejudice, intolerance, and extremism,” Aung San Suu Kyi told the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Oct 04, 2016: Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday asked member states of a regional economic and security organization for “constructive support” in resolving the Rakhine crisis in the country’s troubled western Rakhine state.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto national leader, is trying to drum up regional support for an advisory commission on Rakhine which she created in late August to review conflict resolution between majority Buddhists and minority Muslim Rohingya in the restive state. It will also look at humanitarian assistance, development issues, and strengthening local institutions.

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Buddhist nationalists and political parties in Rakhine oppose the appointment of three foreigners to the commission, including former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who chairs the body and have called for its disbandment.

“We are working to build understanding, harmony, and trust between communities while standing firm against prejudice, intolerance, and extremism,” Aung San Suu Kyi told the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the body’s Inter-Parliamentary Assembly which is meeting on Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. “In doing so, we ask for the constructive support of our regional neighbors.”

“Progress in every field will not be possible overnight, but we are determined to persevere to bring about positive change in Rakhine state as in other areas of our country affected by conflict,” she said.

Rakhine is home to roughly 1.1 million stateless Muslim Rohingya, considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, who face persecution and are denied basic rights, including those of citizenship and freedom of movement. Their plight has drawn condemnation from the international community.

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About 120,000 Rohingya live in squalid refugee camps after being displaced by communal violence with Rakhine Buddhists in 2012 that left more than 200 people dead.

Rakhine Crisis
Emergency food, drinking water and shelter to help people displaced in Rakhine State. Representational image. Wikimedia

The Buddhists and the state’s dominant Arakan National Party (ANP) believe that the three foreign members of the advisory commission will side with the Rohingya and turn the issue into an international one. The commission’s six other members are Myanmar citizens.

Annan, who was heckled by protesters during the commission’s first visit to Rakhine in early September, later told reporters at a press conference in the commercial capital Yangon that the body’s mandate is to provide recommendations to the government on measures for finding solutions to the state’s complex problems in accordance with international standards, and that it will remain “rigorously impartial.”

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The commission must submit a report on its findings to the Myanmar government in 12 months.

A previous investigative committee was formed just after the outbreak of communal violence in 2012, but the suggestions it provided in a subsequent report were not implemented.

(BBG Direct)

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  • Antara

    The condition of the Rohingyas are utterly heartbreaking! Global aid is required to solve The Rakhine Crisis.

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Rohingya Ethnic Group in Myanmar are Targets of Ethnic Cleansing, depicts US Government

The US government stated that abuses directed at the Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar amount to ethnic cleansing

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Rohingyas are targets of ethnic cleansing. Wikimedia.

Washington, Nov 23: The US government said on Wednesday that abuses directed at the Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar amount to ethnic cleansing.

“After a careful and thorough analysis of available facts, it is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement, Efe news agency reported.

Despite expressing concern about the plight of the Rohingya, Washington has declined until now to ascribe their suffering to a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing.

The statement follows a visit last week to Myanmar by Tillerson, who met with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and the head of the armed forces, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

The country’s “government and security forces must respect the human rights of all persons within its borders, and hold accountable those who fail to do so,” the secretary said Wednesday.

“The United States continues to support a credible, independent investigation to further determine all facts on the ground to aid in these processes of accountability,” he said.

More than 600,000 Rohingyas have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a military operation against the mainly Muslim minority group following the deaths of a dozen members of the security forces in Aug. 25 attacks by a group calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

State Department officials said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters that President Donald Trump’s administration is weighing the idea of imposing sanctions on specific individuals in Myanmar found responsible for what they described as “organised and planned” ethnic cleansing.

Senior officials of Myanmar and Bangladesh began talks Wednesday on a plan to repatriate the roughly 622,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladeshi territory.

In a report presented Tuesday in Bangkok, Amnesty International accused Myanmar of subjecting the Rohingya to a system of “institutional” discrimination tantamount to apartheid. (IANS)