Myanmar blocks discussion of Rohingya at ASEAN meeting
Myanmar has blocked discussion on the plight of Rohingya Muslims at a meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) lawmakers next week, a Philippine official said late Monday.
Indonesia had proposed including the current Rohingya crisis in the discussions of ASEAN lawmakers but Myanmar objected, broadcaster ABS-CBN News reported, citing lawmaker Artemio Adasa.
"Myanmar objected… So, definitely we cannot place this [among] the issues to be deliberated during the plenary," Adasa, deputy secretary general of the Philippine House of Representatives, said.
ASEAN's inter-parliamentary assembly is due to meet in Manila on Thursday.
Despite Myanmar's objections, Adasa said "there might be some bilateral agreements" on the Rohingya crisis. Since Aug, 25, more than 310,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine to Bangladesh, according to the UN.
The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which they have said security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.
According to Bangladesh, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.
Turkey has been at the fore of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will raise the issue at the UN.
Adasa said the issue of the Rohingya was a "national concern" for Myanmar, where they are considered "problematic constituents".
House Secretary General Cesar Pareja, chairman of the assembly of ASEAN lawmakers, said member nations would be free to make separate bilateral agreements outside the framework of the assembly.
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine's Maungdaw district, security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.
The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel.
In a report, UN investigators said the human rights violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.