Published: 19 May 2015 7:21 AM
The Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation Malaysia (Merhrom) is deeply saddened over the recent tragedy of thousands of boat people involving ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladeshis.
This is proof that ethnic Rohingya in Myanmar face continuous systematic persecution from the Myanmar government. We face gross human rights violations by the state, and we have been the victims of genocide for generations and left to die in horrible makeshift camps in our own homeland without food, water and medicine supplies from the government.
Due to the horrible situation we face in our homeland, we take risks to flee the country to seek refuge in other countries. We feel very sad to hear that thousands of boat people were turn back to the sea as the neighbouring countries refused to give protection to new asylum seekers.
Currently, an estimated 8,000 boat people are abandoned in the ocean and have nowhere to go. How long can they survive with little food, water and medicine? What will happen to them in the uncertain ocean? Death is on its way. They have already been more than 2 months on the ocean. They are starving and dehydrated and sick. There are big numbers of women and children on the boats.
From January-March 2015, an estimated 25,000 ethnic Rohingya and Bangladeshi became boat people. Thousands more ethnic Rohingya will flee the country if Myanmar does not stop persecuting the ethnic Rohingya and instead recognise them as citizens by law.
If Asean and the United Nations fail to resolve the Rohingya plight, the world will continue to see Rohingya boat people who risk their lives to seek refuge in other countries. It will become a catastrophe that the world cannot forget.
We are very frustrated with UNHCR as they keep quiet at this very critical time. Human lives are at risk but UNHCR remains quiet. We are talking about asylum seekers who are persons of concern to UNHCR, but what are they doing? UNHCR must play a vital role in the whole issue of the Rohingya. We cannot see the role of UNHCR except in renewing the UNHCR card held by refugees as they are no longer registering newly-arrived Rohingya asylum seekers.
Don’t we have the feeling to make a search and rescue first and later decide on how to resolve the issue? Don’t we have the feeling that lives must be saved first before we decide on the rest? Do we feel these boat people’s lives are very cheap and valueless? Don’t we have the feeling to see babies, children, women and elderly suffering along their way to seek refuge in other places? Don’t we think about how dangerous the way was that they have gone through for the sake of their lives?
We thank very much the Kelab Putra Satu Malaysia who came forward to help the newly-arrived Rohingya asylum seekers. We really appreciate what you have done to help us since the conflict in 2012 in our country. We continuously look for your love and support for us.
We hear some people suggesting that the aid be sent to the boat people in the ocean. This is a temporary help to them since we cannot be sending food and water to them every day, for how long? A solution must be found.
We do not know if these boats still have oil. If the oil finishes, we do not know where they will arrive and how far they can go. Can we just wait and see what will happen to them? Do we wait to search for their bodies after their boats sink in the ocean? We appeal to Asean and other countries such as Australia to initiate the search and rescue mission.
Some Asean countries, including Malaysia, have signed Cedaw and CRC. These two conventions apply regardless of nationality and immigration status. Therefore, we call on Malaysia and other Asean countries to give immediate protection to asylum seekers, especially for women and children as they are vulnerable.
We call on the Asean government to rescue the boat people and give them treatment first before they die. Meanwhile the Asean government and the United Nations must meet immediately to find solutions for Rohingya plight. The United Nations and UNHCR specifically must intervene urgently as this involves the lives of asylum seekers who required international protection.
We hope very much that the Malaysian government will play their role as much as possible as chairman of Asean and a member of the UN Security Council to help us.
We call on the United States government and other countries to give urgent protection and immediate documentation and resettlement to these victims of human trafficking under the Trafficking in Persons Act.
We call on UNHCR to step in and have a meeting with the Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian governments for documentation process by both UNHCR and respective governments.
We call on the United Nations to play a vital role to stop the genocide of ethnic Rohingya in Myanmar. Economic and political sanctions must be made to Myanmar in order to compel Myanmar to stop the genocide towards ethnic Rohingya who are the most persecuted ethnicity in the world.
We call on the Myanmar government to come forward and attend the meeting in Bangkok to address the whole long-standing Rohingya plight.
We call on the Asean government to crackdown on human trafficking networks. All agencies in Asean must work in a comprehensive framework to stop human trafficking. Stern action must be taken against human traffickers and networks. In light of this new development, a comprehensive action plan needs to be developed to curb human trafficking starting from the host country, transit and destination countries.
We call on Malaysia as chairman of Asean to call for a specific meeting to discuss the issue. The meeting must involve all Asean countries as Rohingya boat people will arrive not only in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia but also in other Asean countries in future. Previously Rohingya arrived in Cambodia and Singapore.
We call on Asean and the United Nations to continuously pressure the Myanmar government to stop continuous persecution of ethnic Rohingya and recognise Rohingya as citizens in 1982 Citizenship Law.
In this very critical situation, Merhrom urges the United Nations Security Council, US government, British government, European Union, world leaders, OIC, Asean and international communities to help.
We hope very much the meeting in Bangkok will find an immediate and long-term solution to the Rohingya plight. – May 19, 2015.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
sources by – See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/find-a-real-solution-for-the-rohingya-merhrom#sthash.FRXVLOUq.dpuf