The Association of Southeast Asian Nation is seeking an explanation from member state Myanmar about recent ethnic violence targeting minority Rohingya group.
The ongoing violence has driven the Rohingyas from their homes in Myanmar’s northern and western states, and seen them turn up in waves as asylum seekers and refugees in neighboring Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia.
“There will be a full explanation from Myanmar because this is an important and critical issue for Asean as a community,” Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said on Wednesday.
The explanation, he said, would be given at the United Nations headquarters in New York in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Surin said the Asean Secretariat had conducted talks with Myanmar Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin but added “we haven’t heard anything specific or concrete on the matter.”
Predominantly Buddhist Myanmar does not recognize the Muslim Rohingyas as citizens, arguing that they migrated from Bangladesh during British colonial rule. Bangladesh has also disavowed the group, calling it Myanmar’s problem.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday called for laws to protect the rights of the country’s ethnic minorities in her inaugural address to the fledgling parliament.
Additional reporting from AFP