Rohingya refugee issue: Asean must call for emergency meeting

Rohingya refugee issue: Asean must call for emergency meeting
An illegal Bangladeshi migrant raises his hand for clothes as they wait at the Police headquarters in Langkawi on May 11, 2015 after landing on Malaysian shores earlier in the day.

KUALA LUMPUR - As the ASEAN chair, Malaysia should waste no time in calling for an emergency meeting of the grouping to solve the current Rohingya refugee issue.

Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, who is the special representative to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Rohingya Muslims, said the matter had to be solved soon and there was no better way to do it, other than by engaging its ASEAN members.

The former foreign minister, when asked if the matter would be discussed during the ASEAN Summit in November, said discussions to resolve the matter must be held without any delay.

He said Malaysia and ASEAN should emulate Europe which wasted no time in calling for a meeting to solve migration issues.

"I think we need to look forward to ASEAN taking a position on this humanitarian crisis.

"The problem must be discussed as soon as possible, especially by Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar," he told reporters after launching the 2nd International Bus, Truck and Components Expo 2015 at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIECC) here yesterday.

Syed Hamid, who is also the president of the human rights groupHumaniti Malaysia,however added that the issue should be tackled using the humanitarian approach.

"This is a humanitarian crisis and it is not just a crisis of people running away, but it is also a matter of their being driven away from their homes.

"Malaysia had taken a lot of responsibility but it is unfair to expect Malaysia to absorb the current inflow of refugees as the source of the problem is Myanmar.

"We cannot allow this to go on. However, this is a humanitarian crisis and the refugees can't be asked to go back home as they have no home.

"They are stateless. Therefore, this delicate issue should be dealt using a humanitarian approach and you must look into the humanitarian aspect to allow them to land before thinking of the next course of action," he said.

He added that with Malaysia being a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), it would be wise to also raise the issue with the security council.


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