May 14, 2015

Burma Campaign UK today called on ASEAN members to stop pushing boats of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis back out to sea.

Thousands of people are stranded in boats at sea as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia push back boats of desperate refugees and migrants, some of whom have now been at sea for months.

“Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are damaging their reputation and the reputation of ASEAN by leaving desperate, starving people stranded at sea,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK.

Burma Campaign UK welcomes the comments by Malaysia’s Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, accepting that Burmese government policies are responsible for Rohingya fleeing Burma. He told AFP news agency: “Of course, there is a problem back home in Myanmar with the way they treat the Rohingya people. So that is why we need to send a very strong message to Myanmar that they need to treat their people with humanity. They need to be treated like humans, and cannot be so oppressive.”

“The Burmese government is pursuing a twin-track policy of increasing repression and creating a humanitarian crisis in an attempt to drive the Rohingya out of Burma,” said Mark Farmaner.

President Thein Sein has stated that Rohingya do not exist in Burma, and has previously asked for UN assistance in deporting all Rohingya.

“Twenty years of UN General Assembly resolutions calling on Burma to end repression of Rohingya, and more recently polite requests from the USA, UK and others, have all been ignored,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “As the Rohingya crisis escalates, it’s time ASEAN and the rest of the international community took a much tougher stance.”

Notes for editors:
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK has published two briefing papers on how the government of Burma uses human rights violations and the impoverishment of the Rohingya to try to drive them out of Burma.

Their briefing paper on how the Burmese government has deliberately created a humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State is available here.

Their briefing paper on how the Burmese government uses repression and human rights violations to drive the Rohingya out of Burma is available here.

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