Migrants plead for Rohingya issue to be solved in Myanmar itself

Migrants plead for Rohingya issue to be solved in Myanmar itself
Myanmar government officials and UN officials stand on a boat used for human trafficking at a jetty outside Sittwe, Myanmar.

KUALA LUMPUR: The long-standing issue of Rohingya refugees and boat people can only be fixed when the problem in Myanmar is resolved.

"If we can solve the problem in Myanmar, everything will be OK, then we can stop the human trafficking," said Sayed Mahamed, the principal of the Rohingya refugee school, Knowledge Garden Learning Centre, in Selangor.

"We should demand for the United Nations and ASEAN to solve the problem because Myanmar is also an ASEAN member. To stop human trafficking needs the help of international communities, international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and also the United Nations (UN) to deal with the issue," he said.

"Rohingyas go to other countries because they don't have security, they don't have rights, they don't have access to education, no economic rights. We are human beings, it is also our right to stay in the world," he said.

Ethnic Rohingya Committee of Arakan Malaysia (Erca) chairman Mohd Rafique Khairul Bashar thanked the Malaysian public, government and non-governmental organisations for extending assistance in the plight of the boat people.

"We want to go back (to Myanmar) if the govt will accept us but if they do not, we will ask for a United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) card or to ask ASEAN or the Malaysian government for help," he said, urging international communities to pressure the Myanmar government to accept the Rohingya community and Rohingya refugees.

Erca representatives Sayed and Mohd Rafique were in Parliament on Tuesday for a presentation on Rohingya issues for lawmakers.

Pakatan Rakyat has established a Rohingya anti-human trafficking committee, chaired by Opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, to oversee governmental efforts in addressing the recent issue of migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar found in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

"This committee was set up to monitor the actions taken by the Malaysian government concerning this issue after the government decision to allow refugees to land and place them in Malaysia," Wan Azizah said outside parliament lobby on Thursday.

Wan Azizah added that continuous monitoring by the committee was necessary to ensure effective and efficient implementation of governmental steps concerning the refugees.

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