ASEAN lawmakers shelve resolution on Rohingya

Indonesia expresses concern over humanitarian crisis but Myanmar blocks resolution

ASEAN lawmakers shelve resolution on Rohingya

World Bulletin / News Desk

Lawmakers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) failed to adopt a unified stance on the plight of Rohingya Muslims on Tuesday after Myanmar blocked a resolution authored by Indonesia.

“Indonesia expressed concern over the humanitarian crisis in the region and urged all parties to respect the rule of law, exercise maximum self-restraint and stop the ongoing violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine state,” said a joint communique issued at the end of the 38th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) General Assembly in Manila signed by representatives of the 10 ASEAN nations as quoted by Philippine-based online news portal Rappler.

“Based upon the ASEAN spirit of solidarity and unity, Indonesia supports the effort of the government and parliament of Myanmar to restore peace and stability and provide security and assistance to all those in need irrespective of ethnicity, race, religion and belief. Further, Indonesia encouraged Myanmar to implement the recommendations of the UN Advisory Commission on Rakhine state as well as to open their country to humanitarian assistance and to be observant of international humanitarian law in addressing the refugee crisis,” the statement added.

However, the Rohingya issue was not discussed as Myanmar objected to the proposal, Deputy Speaker Ferdinand Hernandez, chairman of the AIPA joint communiqué committee, said in a press conference at the close of the assembly.

“There was a resolution introduced by Indonesia regarding the humanitarian issue in Rakhine. However, based on the rules of AIPA, every decision to be made must have consensus, and there was an objection on the part of Myanmar,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez added there were also no discussions on any political matters of the ASEAN member states.

Myanmar reportedly informed the assembly earlier that the Rohingya plight would be addressed by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi through a televised State of the Nation address as the leader vowed to prosecute human rights violators.

Myanmar also promised to resettle some 410,000 Muslims, the report added.

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.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine’s Maungdaw district, security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which around 400 people were killed, according to Rohingya groups.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel.

In a report, UN investigators said the human rights violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

"All member states’ legislators were equally concerned. We will do what needs to be done and convene on the matter; consider it (for resolution).

“We just find it appropriate at this stage, especially that the State Counselor [Suu Kyi] already spoke about it, that we give Myanmar the space and time to resolve it," Singapore Parliament Deputy Speaker Lim Biow Chuan said.

Philippine lawmaker Dakila Cua echoed that all of the member states are concerned about the issue, but since there is an objection from Myanmar, the assembly was not able to take a stand on the resolution.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2017, 09:39
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