Whatever happened to a “people-centered” ASEAN? Filipino migrants slam ASEAN member states in Rohingya crisis

photo from Agence France-Presse
photo from Agence France-Presse

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International condemns in strongest terms all ASEAN member states for refusing to come up with a humane and compassionate resolution to the ongoing Rohingya crisis.

As of this posting, some thousands of trafficked Rohingya migrants remain stranded at sea, among them women and children, as Malaysia and Indonesia continue to refuse them entry to their borders. As the whole world looks on, Rohingya migrants are left to die, without proper food, shelter and protection.

Migrante International also expresses grave concern over news reports of migrant detention camps and mass graves uncovered along the Thailand-Malaysia border. Thailand’s cruel and militarist crackdowns on trafficked victims and undocumented migrants continue to plague the Rohingya peoples and other trafficked victims.

Migrante International also strongly criticizes the Myanmar government for discriminating against the Rohingyas, treating them inhumanely and criminalizing them as illegal migrants.

Shame on ASEAN. Whatever happened to a “people-centered” ASEAN region? In the spirit of a genuine “People-Centered ASEAN Community 2015”, Migrante International urgently and fervently calls on all ASEAN member states to save the Rohingya peoples.

The Rohingya crisis is not just an issue of border security or trafficking. It has turned into a humanitarian crisis that the ASEAN should resolve immediately. It has become a concern of all freedom-loving ASEAN peoples and the responsibility of all ASEAN member states.

ASEAN Leaders have declared optimism with the 2009-2015 Road Map of the ASEAN Community Blueprints as the basis of the overall ASEAN Community 2015. But how can we fathom to achieve a genuine “People-Centered ASEAN Community 2015” when we cannot, as one region, unite as a peoples on one fundamental cause to promote, protect and respect human rights?

How can we hope to revive the region from the iniquities of injustice, corruption, human rights abuses and poverty when the very peoples and citizens we profess to serve and protect are not given strong gestures of support by ASEAN member states? Is this how we plan to start and pre-empt the ASEAN Community 2015?

Migrante International calls on ASEAN member states to start building an ASEAN Community 2015 on a just, merciful and compassionate foundation. We steadfastly believe that a genuine “People-Centered ASEAN Community 2015” must take place within a human rights framework that protects, promotes and fulfils the rights of its peoples. These should be the basis on which the ASEAN states build the ASEAN Community 2015.

Migrante International calls on all its members and networks around the world to campaign for a humane and compassionate resolution to the Rohingya crisis. ###