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ASEAN urges Myanmar to increase humanitarian efforts in Rakhine state

Updated

By Roy Mabasa

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) urged the Myanmar government to “continue to implement the recommendations of the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State and to increase humanitarian efforts to affected communities.”

Myanmar's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi looks on during the 9th ASEAN UN Summit on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 13, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Linus ESCANDOR II / MANILA BULLETIN)

Myanmar’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi looks on during the 9th ASEAN UN Summit on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 13, 2017.
(AFP PHOTO / POOL / Linus ESCANDOR II / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Advisory Commission is a neutral and impartial body that aims to propose measures for improving the welfare of all people in Rakhine state, and is being chaired by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan.

The Commission earlier made recommendations to the Myanmar government that includes holding accountable those behind the “serious human rights violations” following the bloody attack on a border police post in October 2016. But the ASEAN failed to condemn the atrocities by Burmese military against the Muslim minorities in the Rakhine State.

This despite an earlier statement made by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano who said that representatives from Myanmar had “explicitly” sought the help of the ASEAN in addressing the Rohingya crisis.

In the said statement, ASEAN leaders welcomed the Myanmar civilian government’s establishment of a Ministerial Committee to execute the recommendations as well as its commitment to “ensure the safety of civilians, take immediate steps to end the violence, restore normal socioeconomic conditions, and address the refugee problem through verification process.”

The Chairman’s statement was prepared by the Philippines, being this year’s chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – which includes Myanmar.

During the ASEAN – United Nations Summit last Tuesday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres conveyed his “deep concern” over the Rohingya crisis, calling it a “potential source of instability in the region, and radicalization.”

“I cannot hide my deep concern with the dramatic movement of hundreds of refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh. It is a worrying escalation in a protracted tragedy and a potential source of instability in the region, and radicalization,” Guterres told the ASEAN leaders of 10 ASEAN member-states.

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