Rohingya crisis: Aung San Suu Kyi asks ASEAN, Australia for help

Yangon, Myanmar Burma) Published: Mar 19, 2018, 05:14 AM(IST)

(File photo) Aung San Suu Kyi. Photograph:( WION )

Burmese politician and diplomat, Aung San Suu Kyi, has reportedly sought help with the ongoing Rohingya crisis, from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations and Australia, in a closed-door meeting.

At a meeting of leaders at the Australia-ASEAN summit in Sydney on Sunday, Suu Kyi addressed the issue "comprehensively [and] at some considerable length," The Guardian quoted the Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull as saying.

"Aung San Suu Kyi ... seeks support from ASEAN and other nations to provide help from a humanitarian and capacity-building point-of-view. Everyone seeks to end the suffering," Turnbull said.

Over 650,000 of the Rohingya ethnic and religious minority have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since August, escaping systemic violence from the country's military, including murder, rape and the deliberate torching of villages.

Suu Kyi has spoken little publicly about the conflict and pointedly refused to use the word Rohingya, which is not a minority recognised by the Myanmar government.

"It is not the intention of the Myanmar government to apportion blame or to abnegate responsibility. We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence," she had said earlier.

ASEAN had a declared policy of non-interference in the affairs of member states but the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said the ongoing persecution of Rohingya was of international concern.

"Because of the suffering of Rohingya people and that of displacement around the region, the situation in Rakhine state and Myanmar can no longer be considered to be a purely domestic matter because it has the potential of developing into a serious security threat to the region," The Guardian quoted Razak as saying.

Further, the ASEAN chairman, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said instability in one ASEAN state held ramifications for all.

"All of us in the region, we will be anxious if there is any instability if there is trouble in any of our member countries. We are also concerned as human beings if there's a humanitarian situation which has developed and people's welfare and lives and safety are at stake. And we do our best to help the governments to re-establish stability and tranquillity in the situation," he said.

He, however, said he was not aware of specific security threats posed by the ongoing displacement of Rohingya from Myanmar.

Malcolm Turnbull said the issue of the Rohingya crisis was "discussed constructively" and that Australia and ASEAN member states were ready to assist.

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