ASEAN draft statement skips over Rohingya crisis

16

International desk, November 13: A draft of the statement to be issued after a Southeast Asian summit makes no mention of the exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s Rakhine state following a military crackdown that has been described by the United Nations as ethnic cleansing.One paragraph of the communique, seen by Reuters on Monday, mentions the importance of humanitarian relief provided for victims of natural disasters in Vietnam and a recent urban battle with Islamist militants in the Philippines, as well as “affected communities” in northern Rakhine state, according to United News of India.

The statement was drawn up by the Philippines, current chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – which includes Myanmar – whose leaders met for a plenary session in Manila on Monday.

The draft did not give any details of the situation in northern Rakhine state or use the term Rohingya for the persecuted Muslim minority, which Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has asked foreign leaders not to use.

The government in mostly-Buddhist Myanmar regards the Rohingya as illegal migrants from Bangladesh and does not recognise the term.