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The Rohingya crisis: ASEAN vs Red Cross
The Jakarta Post
6 September 2012

The cloud of gross human rights violations against the Rohingya Muslims during the last few weeks that have darkened Myanmar’s sky will hinder the transformation of ASEAN into a single community of nations by 2015. 
 
In its press release on Aug. 1, Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that Myanmarese security forces had committed killings, rape and mass arrests against Rohingya Muslims after failing to protect both the Muslims and Arakan Buddhists during deadly sectarian violence in June. (…)
 
However, ASEAN remains silent on this human rights violation in a part of ASEAN. This contradicts the ASEAN spirit of one vision, one identity and one community and the desire to show collective solidarity, compassion and the will to help each other. (…)
 
In the spirit of non-interference, AICHR could facilitate the Myanmar government through various capacity-building supports for their law-enforcement officials such as community policing especially in the state of Rakhine. 

This approach is in line with the mandate of the Outcome Document of the 2005 United Nations World Summit (A/RES/60/1, para. 138-140) and the Secretary-General’s 2009 Report (A/63/677) on the Implementation of the Responsibility to Protect which stipulates that the state carries the primary responsibility for protecting populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and their incitement. (…)
 
Thus ASEAN could adopt a persuasive approach to pursuade the Myanmar government to take immediate action to end the gross human-rights violations and initiate prompt, independent and impartial investigations under both domestic and other mechanisms in line with the spirit of a single ASEAN Political-Security Community.

Due to ASEAN’s silence, Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) chairman, Jusuf Kalla, proactively offered some lessons learned and best practices to address the Rohingya crisis. Kalla, former Indonesian vice president, has long experience on conflict transformation in various sectarian and horizontal conflicts in Indonesia. (…)
 
Within the spirit of justice for all and impartiality, the Rohingya crisis should not be reduced and dichotomized into black and white issues of Muslims and Buddhists, otherwise there will never be any rainbow over Myanmar’s sky and the ASEAN dream for a single community of nations by 2015 will simply remain a beautiful fata morgana.
 
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