Indonesia Encourages Greater ASEAN Role on Rohingya


Bloc’s member countries ask Myanmar to be more open and trust friendly countries in region to help resolve problem

Jakarta, MINA — Indonesia on Tuesday called on countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take a more active role in resolving the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar, Anadolu Agency reported.

Wiranto, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, who goes by a single name, conveyed the request at the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) council meeting in Singapore on Tuesday.

“We suggested a greater role for ASEAN in this matter even though some member countries, including Indonesia, have already helped earnestly,” he said.

He said the bloc’s member countries also asked Myanmar to be more open and trust friendly countries in the region to help resolve this problem.

ASEAN member countries, he said, are Myanmar’s closest friends.

“It’s up to Myanmar to choose who can help. But so far, Myanmar has made no special request from ASEAN regarding the Rohingya,” added Wiranto.

He said other member states such as the Philippines and Cambodia also asked for more involvement by the bloc.

He added that ASEAN assistance is not a way of interfering with Myanmar, as ASEAN “has no intention of interfering or influencing Myanmar’s domestic policies.”

He said Myanmar has showed their good intentions by receiving assistance from Indonesia.

Heads of state and government of ASEAN’s 10 member states are meeting in Singapore on Nov. 11-15 for their 33rd summit and related meetings, under the theme “Resilient and Innovative.”

Persecution of Rohingya

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.”

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children, and women, fled Myanmar and crossed into neighboring Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity. . (Tj/RS5/RS1)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)