THERE was no condemnation from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) concerning the violence committed by Myanmar against the Rohingya Muslims living in Rakhine State.
Based on the Chairman’s Statement on the 31st Asean Summit hosted and chaired by the Philippines this week, the 10-member regional bloc was limited to urging Myanmar “to continue to implement the recommendations of the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State and welcomed Myanmar’s establishment of a Ministerial Committee for this purpose.”
The Advisory Commission, known as the Annan Commission, was formed by Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.
It is mandated to examine the complex challenges facing Rakhine State and to propose answers to those challenges.
The Annan Commission has recommended the establishment of a path for citizenship for the Rohingya Muslims who are classified as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh under existing Myanmar laws. Likewise, the Annan body called for “calibrated response that combines political, developmental, security and human rights approaches that would address the root causes of violence and reduce inter-communal tensions.”
“They (Asean members) underscored the importance of increased humanitarian access to the affected areas and that assistance be given to all affected communities,” the Asean Chairman’s statement read.
Asean groups the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei.
“They expressed support to the Myanmar government in its efforts to bring peace, stability, rule of law and to promote harmony and reconciliation between the various communities, as well as sustainable and equitable development in Rakhine State,” the Asean Chairman’s statement added.
The violence against the Rohingyas erupted when militants killed at least 30 policemen in August.
An estimated 500,000 have fled Rakhine State to go to Bangladesh due to the military’s “clearing operations”, which included burning homes, committing rape and killing of Rohingya Muslims.
There are at least one million Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in September that the violence committed against the Rohingyas under Myanmar was a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.