Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) welcomes the decision by Khairy Jamaluddin to engage with the Myanmar embassy with regards to the persecution and killing of ethnic Rohingya in Rakhine, Myanmar.
Given the urgency and gravity of the situation faced by Rohingya and others in Rakhine state at this present moment, it is of paramount importance for all stakeholders to set aside political differences and act together and immediately to stop the genocide. Failure to act at this crucial juncture would condemn the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya and others to further forced displacement, violence, deprivation and possible death.
As a member of the cabinet, Khairy Jamaluddin must go beyond merely meeting with the United Nations office in Malaysia and the Myanmar embassy. Instead, he must be part of an immediate Malaysian government collective cabinet decision which will result in the government of Malaysia taking a strong lead in addressing the issue of genocide in Rakhine state and the urgent need to protect thousands of innocent civilians, including but not confined to the urgent delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid.
To this end, Suaram calls for the government of Malaysia to:
- demand that all sides stop the violence with immediate effect.
- urge all fellow Asean members to insist that the Myanmar government honours its commitments to the Asean Charter, the Asean Declaration of Human Rights, and all other Asean and international instruments to which Myanmar is a signatory. This will mean an immediate cessation of violence, the proactive protection of all civilians against displacement and violence, the guaranteed safe return of all those displaced by the violence and the securing of their land and help with rebuilding their communities, and the provision of basic necessities to everyone, including those in internally displaced people’s camps.
- call upon fellow Asean governments, the international community and other partners, to support the Myanmar government and the Bangladesh government in providing essential and urgent humanitarian aid to the hundreds of thousands displaced, including those who have fled into the Bangladesh and/or are at the border area with Bangladesh, as well as to Rohingya and others still in Arakan state, including in the internally displaced people’s camps.
- make sure that Asean members and the international community come together to support the Myanmar government with immediate effect in translating the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Commission report on Rakhine state into practice. These recommendations include the guaranteeing of citizenship rights and form a ready-made road map for a secure and safe future for all in Rakhine state.
- call upon Aung San Suu Kyi and her government in Myanmar to allow independent monitors into all areas, to assess humanitarian needs and to assess any responsibility for any crimes committed in the course of the violence. If, as she maintains, her government and military have done nothing wrong, this should not be a problem.
Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram.