Rohingya UK Group – Urges ASEAN to Rescue and Tackle Causes of Refugee Crisis

The Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK released a media statement on Wednesday 13 May, requestin,g “ASEAN member states to launch an urgent rescue operation for thousands of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis stranded in boats off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.”

The Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK called on ASEAN to “address the root causes of the crisis by pressuring the government of Burma to end its policy of trying to drive the Rohingya out of Burma.”

Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK said in the organisation’s media statement that the immediate priority for now, “is to save lives, an urgent rescue mission is needed, but the priority for tomorrow must be to stop the government of Burma driving Rohingya out of Myanmar.”

The Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK said it talked with “people on one of the boats off the coast of Thailand and Malaysia. People were crying and screaming and begging for help, they had been on the boat for two months and had not had food for five days.”

The Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK laid the blame for the humanitarian crisis involving Rohingya people that is now happening at sea, in Burma and in neighbouring countries with President Thein Sein. The Burmese Rohingya Organisation UKsaid that since 2011 the government has “increased repression of Rohingya and has allowed and encouraged hatred and violence against the Rohingya, including attacks in 2012 which forced more than 140,000 from their homes. Through impoverishment and repression, his goal is to force Rohingya to flee Burma. Since he became President, well over 130,000 Rohingya have fled Burma, amounting to between ten and twenty percent of the Rohingya population.”

The Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK president said that ASEAN countries had to open its doors to the Rohingya refugees.

“ASEAN members pushing boats of refugees away from their coasts are not only acting in an inhumane way, they are also acting in a short-sighted way,” said Tun Khin. “Rohingya are fleeing Burma because the government is using twin tactics of impoverishment and repression against them.”

Tun Khin said that “ASEAN should work with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to negotiate open humanitarian access to the Rohingya in Burma, and they should support a UN investigation into the government policies and human rights violations against Rohingya. Until ASEAN start to address the root causes of why Rohingya people are fleeing Burma, they won’t solve this problem.”

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