It has been three years since a Myanmar military operation forced 740,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. Since then, the Myanmar government has not taken any meaningful steps to address the root causes of the crisis.
Many refugees have embarked on perilous journeys by sea to reach ASEAN countries. Meanwhile, the approximately 600,000 Rohingya still in Rakhine State continue to live in fear.
"While we welcome the fact that ASEAN has taken a more proactive role in Rakhine State and is increasing its capacity and resources to respond to the crisis, we urge you to ensure that ASEAN’s actions effectively create positive and sustainable change that contribute to ending the cycle of violence and displacement," stated APHR in a written statement on Wednesday.
According to APHR, for ASEAN to have an impact and be effective in Rakhine State, it needs to acknowledge and address the situation that led the Rohingya to flee in the first place and address all aspects of the crisis, whether human rights, political, humanitarian, social, or economic.
By confronting these issues, ASEAN will both ensure its interventions do not do harm and also have a greater impact, as refugees will only return to a situation where they do not face entrenched discrimination, violence, and restrictions on their lives and liberty.
"Without such a holistic approach, ASEAN’s attempts at intervening risk being counter-productive and contributing to entrenching segregation, perpetuating serious human rights violations, including crimes under international law, and pushing more Rohingya to seek safety in neighboring countries,"it stated.