Myanmar assures ASEAN it is attending to Rakhine issue
MYANMAR’S leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has assured other Southeast Asian nations that her government is implementing the recommendations of a commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the situation in Rakhine state, where more than half a million Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh, a Philippine official said.
Philippine presidential spokesman Harry Roque also said Suu Kyi pledged Monday that repatriation of the displaced people would begin within three weeks after Myanmar signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh. The memorandum was signed on October 24.
He said Suu Kyi gave no further details.
Roque said at least two ASEAN leaders brought up the Rohingya issue Monday during a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila. Roque said Suu Kyi did not refer to the Rohingya by name.
Although Rohingya Muslims have lived in Myanmar for decades, the country’s Buddhist majority still sees them as invaders from Bangladesh. The government denies them basic rights, and the United Nations has called them one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
Since August, when their homes were torched by Buddhist mobs and soldiers, more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh.
During her visit to Vietnam to attend the ASEAN-APEC informal leader’s meeting earlier in the week, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was also asked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the situation in Rohingya.
The two leaders discuss ways on how to end the humanitarian crisis.
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi attends during an opening session of the 31th ASEAN Summit in Manila on Monday.