I’ve been remiss in not reporting the latest on the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar (Burma). You will remember an international brouhaha has developed around the issue ever since reports were made late last year that Rohingya illegal aliens trying to enter Thailand were waylaid by the Thai Navy and sent back out to sea. (See our Rohingya Reports category for background).
Here are some recent developments.
The US today has called on the Thai government to not forcibly repatriate the Rohingya in their custody:
The United States Ambassador to Thailand has urged the Thai government to not forcibly repatriate Rohingya boat people to Burma without guarantees of their safety. The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority who live in Burma.
“Without improvements in their treatment in northern Rakhine (Arakan) State, and verifiable guarantees by authorities that they won’t be punished for departing, the United States strictly opposes the forced repatriation of the Rohingya into the hands of Burmese officials,” said Ambassador Eric John in an exclusive interview with The Irrawaddy.
The UN called on Burma (Myanmar) to treat the Rohingya according to International standards:
New Delhi (Mizzima) – Navanethem Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Thursday called on Burma’s neighboring countries to treat Rohingya, members of Burma’s minority Muslim community, according to international standards.
Ms. Pillay, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, said she is dismayed by the harrowing accounts of Rohingya who had taken to the sea to flee Burma.
Calling for a thorough investigation into reports that indicate the ill-treatment meted out to Rohingya, Ms. Pillay said, “I urge all neighboring countries to ensure their appropriate reception, processing and protection, in line with international standards.”
Meanwhile Indonesia is trying to get a meeting together of representatives of 40 nations to try to solve the Rohingya issue, but no one wants to come.
Indonesia has received no response from 40 countries invited to hammer out a resolution on the fate of Rohingya migrants during a forum in Bali slated for mid-April, a ministry official said on Friday.
Teuku Faizasyah, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said invitations were sent out last week to 40 countries, including Burma and Bangladesh, the countries of origin of about 400 boat people now staying in Aceh Province. Thailand, Australia and New Zealand were also among the countries asked to take part in the forum.
“Normally, confirmation comes one day after invitations are sent,” he said, adding the so-called Bali Process would be held on the resort island on April 14 and 15.
What all this is leading up to is that we will one day be adding the Rohingya to our list of refugees resettled in the US. Here is a letter from a group of Rohingya activists appealing for resettlement. And, by the way, some mainstream publication recently said there was no one actively advocating for the Rohingya (couldn’t find that link at the moment), and that just isn’t true.
We under signed organizations are deeply concerned over the plights of Rohingya and role of ASEAN nations as their plight require international intervention without further delay.
Thus, we extend our continuous encouragement of urgent intervention by resettlement countries, as an only essential step that required to international solution for their long standing problems. We have also received refugees’ personal testimonies for resettlement process. Their rights to meet with safety net process through relocation to signatory country, which would not be violated by unworkable regional dimension.
This statement is endorsed by:
1.Rohingya Information Center (RIC)
2.Rohingya Information Center (RIC-ABIM)
3.Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC)
4.Organization of Refugee Rohingya Woman, Malaysia (ORRWM)
5.Community Rohingya Islam Pro-Democracy Organization (CRIPDO)
6.Organization of Rohingya Stateless in Malaysia (ORSM)
7.Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization, Malaysia (MERHROM)