Malaysia disputes Cayetano's ASEAN chair statement on Rohingya

Cheryl Sanders
September 26, 2017

"The government of Myanmar has declared ARSA a terrorist group", the ambassador said, adding that the "highest Islamic religious organisation in Myanmar" also condemned the ARSA attacks.

"There have been credible allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses committed against the Rohingya, including extrajudicial killings, excessive use of force, torture and ill-treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced displacement, as well as the burning and destruction of over 200 Rohingya villages and tens of thousands of homes", the experts said.

World leaders and high-level representatives gathered in NY to address the assembly this week, with many urging action on the situation in Rakhine, where an August 25 attack on 30 police outposts and the subsequent military crackdown by government security forces have garnered worldwide attention and sparked claims of ethnic cleansing.

An estimated 436,000 Rohingyas have arrived in Bangladesh in the last month alone, fleeing violence that the United Nations has called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing". "They all said Myanmar army had done this".

On September 25, Myanmar Police found a mass grave containing dozens of dead bodies of Hindus, in the conflict-torn Rakhine state.

Security forces say the bodies are among about 100 Hindus missing since ARSA attacked at least 30 police outposts August 25.

"The moment (those affected) sign up (with terror groups), they undo all the good work of the worldwide community", he said.

There was no immediate way to independently verify the government's assertions. "These people are in danger back in Myanmar and need support".

They showed AFP a list of 102 people from two villages - Ye Baw Kyaw, where the bodies were found, and Taung Ywar - who are feared dead by relatives now sheltering in camps.

Last year, she set up the Rakhine Commission, led by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan, to examine the complex challenges facing Rakhine state and to propose responses to them.

The South Asian regional seminar of Communist and Left parties has urged the governments of South Asia, including Myanmar, Bangladesh, India and Nepal, and the worldwide community to finalise a roadmap to solve the Rohingya crisis.

He also lamented that the chairman's statement omits specific mention of the Rohingya Muslims - a stateless, persecuted and unrecognized ethnic minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar - and merely refers to "affected communities". "So the government is thinking of separating such children who have come here without their parents", Rahman said.

Myanmar has seen a surge of Buddhist nationalism in recent years, and the public is supportive of the campaign against the insurgents. Authorities in Myanmar, which is a member of ASEAN, have instead accused an insurgent group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), of fomenting violence in Rakhine.

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