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Rohingya issue fails to find a foothold in the ASEAN summit

By Amitava

Contrary to anticipations, the Rohingya issue failed to find a foothold in the two-day long ASEAN summit in the Philippines. However, the de facto leader of Myanmar has agreed to accept humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas.

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders at the opening ceremony of the 31th ASEAN Summit, in Manila, Philippines

Incidentally the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in a regional intergovernmental organization set up on 10 Southeast Asian nations on August 8, 1967.

The main objective of ASEAN is to promote pan-Asianism, cooperation, and facilities among the member countries. The 10 countries include Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Brunei.

The 31st ASEAN Summit was held in Manila, the Philippines on November 13 and 14 attended by the representatives of member countries.

Spokesperson of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, the summit Chairman claimed that Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar has agreed to accept aid for the Rohingyas. Earlier the country was accused of not allowing aid.

The Spokesperson further claimed that only two of the representatives had raised the Rohingya issue in the plenary meeting on Monday. Suu Kyi reportedly pacified them with the assurance that her Government is addressing the problem.

Even Chairman Duterte in the "Chairman's Statement" labeled the Rohingya crisis as "a matter of disaster resiliency."

The issue found mention as a single phrase in the 26-page document (Chairman's Statement.) The sentence read "We.... Extend appreciation for the prompt response in the delivering of relief items for Northern Vietnam flash floods and landslide victims, the displaced communities in Marawi City, Philippines as well as the affected communities in Northern Rakhine State, Myanmar."

The Rohingyas are an ethnic group, the majority belonging to the Muslim faith, who have lived for centuries in Myanmar. Currently, there are about 1.1 million Rohingya who lives in the predominantly Buddhist country.

The Rohingya speak the unique Ruaingga dialect but are not considered one of Myanmar's 135 official ethnic groups. They have been denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982. This has rendered the Rohingya's stateless.

Nearly all of the Rohingyas in Myanmar live in the western coastal state of Rakhine in camps. Time and again there have been allegations of Myanmar embarking on ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya's which the country has denied.

Following an attack on the police posts and an army base in Myanmar on August 25 that left 12 officers dead, the Myanmar military has imposed a crackdown on the Rohingya population which they have dubbed a clearance operation against an insurgent terrorist group.

Due to ongoing violence and persecution, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to neighbouring countries either by land or boat.

UNICEF figures claim that out of the 600,000 Rohingyas who fled from Myanmar nearly 3,40,000 are children. Reports further claim that each week around 12000 Rohingya children pours into Bangladesh already reeling from the crisis.

OneIndia News

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