Rohingya Crisis: An Agenda for the Regional and International Communities
Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies
28 May 2014
During the 2014 ASEAN Summit in Naypyidaw, the first one to be held in Myanmar, the plight of the Rohingya Muslims was left off the agenda. The failure to discuss the issue and the deliberate attempts by Myanmar to not recognise the Rohingyas in the recently held Census has once again brought the uncertain fate of the Rohingyas to the forefront. (…)
The international community, rather than focusing on refugee conventions should pressurise the Myanmarese government to act on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle which calls on every State to protect its population, regardless of ethnicity or citizenship, from ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity. R2P also asks the international community to act if the responsible government is unable to do so. (…)
Resolving the Rohingya issue is political rather than humanitarian; however, regional groups and the international community have not been able to take a strong political stand against Myanmar. Although Myanmar is undergoing a change after the formation of a semi-democratic government, its attitude towards Rohingya Muslims has not changed at all. Even pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has not made her stance on the issue clear.
Only Myanmar can solve this longstanding crisis by either amending or repealing the 1982 Citizenship Law to recognise Rohingyas as an ethnic group of Myanmar. A recent report by Fortify Rights states that the policies of the Myanmarese government restrict the Rohingyas’ "movement, marriage, childbirth, home repairs and construction of houses of worship." Such discriminatory laws should be immediately withdrawn to stop the further persecution of this minority group.
There is an urgent need for the international and regional communities to remain firm in exerting pressure on the government of Myanmar to meet its obligations under the R2P principle.
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