In the event of the 33rd Asean summit on 13-15 November 2018, we,the undersigned civil society express our concern about the initiative of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), propelled by the foreign ministers of Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, to visit Myanmar in the month ahead with the intention of expediting the safe and voluntary return of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh to Myanmar.
While noting the importance of Asean in providing a regional approach and identifying more effective measures and practical steps to address the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, Asean must not consider the option of voluntary return without addressing the root causes of the displacement and entrenched discrimination of the Rohingya.
To donate and contribute to Rohingya refugees and Rohingya students, please go to www.allmercy.org
Furthermore, Asean must ensure and prioritise the development of regional initiatives to push for a substantial change in the conditions in Myanmar, which are now not conducive for the Rohingya to return in safety and dignity.Under the current circumstances, we are deeply concerned that the visit of the Asean delegation will merely be used as a tool to distract and subvert calls for justice and accountability to address mass atrocities in the country.
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