The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) on Wednesday released a statement saying it welcomed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on human rights in Burma, and backed the UN’s calls for urgent action to be taken to ensure humanitarian aid is delivered to displaced peoples across the country.
AIPMC, which is formed of parliamentarians from ASEAN member states, said it welcomed the UN resolution’s statement “expressing particular concern about the situation of the Rohingya minority in Rakhine State” where a humanitarian crisis is unfolding.
“Tens of thousands of displaced Rohingya Muslims are suffering under continued persecution and remain too fearful of further attacks to return to their villages, many of which have been burned to the ground by Rakhine mobs. Those who do remain are too afraid to leave their enclaves,” AIPMC said.
“The UN’s Rakhine Response Plan, which was revised this month, is facing a shortfall of over $40 million, there is an urgent need to provide humanitarian assistance to Rakhine State. There is a very real threat that children will soon start dying in large numbers from disease and malnutrition,” said Ms Sundari.
According to UNOCHA, there are more than 400,000 IDPs in Myanmar: some 115,000, chased from their homes in Rakhine State on ethnic grounds since inter-communal violence broke out in June, as well as over 235,000 displaced by conflict in Karen state and more than 75,000 displaced by the ongoing war between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army in the country’s far north.
AIPMC Vice President Kraisak Choonhavan spoke out against the prejudices in Burma directed at the Muslim Rohingya community.
“The government’s denial of the very legitimacy of the Rohingya ethnic group constitutes a major barrier to finding a long-term solution to the inter-communal problems in Rakhine State and betrays an inherent ethno-nationalist superiority complex of the predominantly Buddhist-Burman government of Myanmar,” he said.
“The immediate concern is rightly the need to get urgent humanitarian assistance to those displaced by the recent violence, but the greater fear is that if the government, ethno-nationalist political parties as well as elements in the Buddhist clergy continue to label these people as ‘Bengali’ interlopers with no rights, then this violence could spread so much further, putting the safety, dignity and lives of hundreds of thousands of people at risk,” he said.