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Jakarta Post

ASEAN: Prioritize rights of Rohingya

  • Chris Lewa

Bangkok   /   Thu, June 13 2019   /  01:02 am

As ASEAN prepares for its 34th Summit in Bangkok on June 20 to 23, the heads of member states must keep the Rohingya crisis at the top of their agenda. With the world’s largest refugee camp now sitting at the doorstep of ASEAN, the regional dimensions of the crisis can no longer be ignored. ASEAN’s demonstrated interest in finding solutions to this complex and protracted crisis is welcome. But instead of focusing on the repatriation of nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar, ASEAN must work first to address the human rights crisis faced by hundreds of thousands of Rohingya still inside Myanmar. They must create safe conditions for refugees to return. It is also crucial that ASEAN works closely with UNHCR — the UN agency mandated to provide international protection to refugees and to facilitate their voluntary repatriation — in any efforts to support volunta...