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Jakarta Post

ASEAN can act on Rohingya

  • Usman Hamid
    Usman Hamid

    Director of Amnesty International Indonesia

Jakarta   /   Tue, September 19, 2017   /  03:04 pm
ASEAN can act on Rohingya In crisis: Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine state wait for aid at Kutupalong refugee camp in the Bangladeshi town of Teknaf on Sept.5. Nearly 125,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh since a fresh upsurge of violence in Myanmar on Aug. 25, the United Nations said September 5, as fears grow of a humanitarian crisis in the overstretched camps. The UN said 123,600 had crossed the border in the past 11 days from Myanmar's violence-wracked Rakhine state. (AFP/K M Asad)

The recent violence in Myanmar bears all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing. Myanmar’s security forces are engaged in a vicious and disproportionate campaign, burning down whole villages and firing at random at Rohingya as they are trying to flee. But beyond the immediate humanitarian emergency, the situation can also teach us a meaningful lesson about noninterference and human rights. The principle of “noninterference in internal affairs,” which features prominently in speeches by ASEAN leaders, is long established in international law. But the view that it is an absolute principle that trumps all others was abandoned by the international community many decades ago, once the scope and scale of the mass atrocities of World War II became known. In 1970, the United Nations secretary-general at the time said that “obligations under the [UN] Charter must inclu...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.