Malaysia calls on ASEAN to find solutions for Myanmar Rohingya crisis

20 December 2016
Malaysia calls on ASEAN to find solutions for Myanmar Rohingya crisis
Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman arrives to attend the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting in Yangon on December 19, 2016. Photo: Thet Ko/Mizzima

Malaysia Monday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take charge in finding a solution to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar since it is a regional matter, media reported Monday.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman made the proposal during a meeting with regional foreign ministers organized in Yangon by the Burmese government.
Anifah called on Myanmar to provide free access to humanitarian aid in Rakhine state, an area dominated by the Muslim Rohingya minority community and which has been under tight control of the Burmese army since Oct. 9.
The campaign started as a result of an armed attack on three border police posts which left nine policemen dead and was attributed to an insurgent Rohingya group.
Approximately 30,000 persons have been displaced and 27,000 fled to Bangladesh due to the army operation in the region, with soldiers being accused of crimes including executing civilians and raping and burning down houses in small villages.
The Myanmar government has denied the allegations and maintained that the actions of the security forces have been carried out in accordance with the law.
Anifah also proposed that ASEAN to create an expert commission to investigate the situation in Rakhine and make recommendations on how to deal with it.
"I believe that in the spirit of maintaining Asean centrality and cohesiveness, we have to address this issue collectively," Anifah said to his counterparts, according to Malaysian daily The Star.
The meeting in Yangon coincided with the publication of an Amnesty International report describing the army actions as a systematic and widespread attack on the civilian population, which can be considered crimes against humanity.