ASEAN leaders to issue strong rebuke of Myanmar over Rohingya refugee crisis

ASEAN leaders to issue strong rebuke of Myanmar over Rohingya refugee crisis

Leaders from ASEAN member states will discuss the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis as part of wider discussions at a summit

Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar wait to be let through by Bangladeshi border guards after crossing the border in Palang Khali

Photo: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

Leaders from ASEAN member states will discuss the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis as part of wider discussions at a summit in Singapore today.

A strongly-worded communique condemning Myanmar’s handling of the crisis and expressing concern for the plight of the Rohingya is expected. The talks will also likely focus on current and future efforts to allow Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar voluntarily, whilst also ensuring their long-term security. Over 2,000 refugees have been scheduled for repatriation by Bangladesh in the coming weeks, however the UN has raised concerns about the lack of protections upon their return due to ongoing violence and genocide led by the military. This includes ongoing efforts to gain commitments from the Myanmar government to grant citizenship to Rohingya and ensure their right to freedom of movement in the country.

Muslim-majority nations Malaysia and Indonesia are believed to be behind the strong ASEAN statement. The group is also believed to have a general impatience with Myanmar’s handling and accountability for the crisis. As such, leaders are expected to pressure Myanmar to detail steps it will take to avoid an escalation to the crisis or repeat events in the future. Expect Myanmar to defend its handling of the crisis, but give little pushback against a position taken by the majority of ASEAN counterparts.

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