Rohingya Refugee Crisis: ASEAN must coordinate rescue and tackle root causes of crisis
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK today called on ASEAN member states to launch an urgent rescue operation for thousands of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis stranded in boats off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and also to address the root causes of the crisis by pressuring the government of Burma to end its policy of trying to drive the Rohingya out of Burma.
“The priority for today is to save lives, an urgent rescue mission is needed, but the priority for tomorrow must be to stop the government of Burma driving Rohingya out of Burma,” said Tun Khin President of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK has spoken to people on one of the boats off the coast of Thailand and Malaysia. People were crying and screaming and begging for help, they had been on the boat for two months and had not had food for five days.
After becoming President of Burma in 2011, President Thein Sein increased repression of Rohingya and has allowed and encouraged hatred and violence against the Rohingya, including attacks in 2012 which forced more than 140,000 from their homes. Through impoverishment and repression, his goal is to force Rohingya to flee Burma. Since he became President, well over 130,000 Rohingya have fled Burma, amounting to between ten and twenty percent of the Rohingya population.
“ASEAN members pushing boats of refugees away from their coasts are not only acting in an inhumane way, they are also acting in a short-sighted way,” said Tun Khin. “Rohingya are fleeing Burma because the government is using twin tactics of impoverishment and repression against them. ASEAN should work with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to negotiate open humanitarian access to the Rohingya in Burma, and they should support a UN investigation into the government policies and human rights violations against Rohingya. Until ASEAN start to address the root causes of why Rohingya people are fleeing Burma, they won’t solve this problem.”
For more information please contact Tun Khin on +44 (0) 7888714866.