Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Rohingya: A challenge for ASEAN society

Muhammad Pizaro, Jakarta Post

Parni image from
The plight of the Rohingya people in Myanmar has attracted the world’s attention for years. In May 2015, the Rohingya refugee crisis grabbed international headlines when tens of thousands of Rohingya fled from Myanmar’s state-sponsored persecution in overcrowded boats heading toward Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Myanmar’s government views the Rohingya as illegal citizens and describes them as immigrants from Bangladesh, despite the group having inhabited Rakhine state since the 16th century. Government policies bar them from praying, obtaining education or getting married. Many children have witnessed their parents killed by the junta regime, as if the Rohingya people were delinquent evildoers. ...
The international community previously looked to Aung San Suu Kyi to solve these crises, as a Nobel Peace Prize winner for her struggle for democracy. Thus far, however, the Lady has remained silent on the issue. ...
SEAHUM is a humanitarian organization network based in Southeast Asia, aiming to encourage countries to cooperate in humanitarian activities in the ASEAN region. The group initiated an international summit on 18-19 May ago in Bogor, West Java, as a bridge for stakeholders who have contributed to this issue.
The summit discussed a number of issues related to the Rohingya, such as understanding the opportunities and challenges for the Rohingya after the general election in Myanmar, ASEAN countries’ role in helping the Rohingya and how to create good cooperation with all stakeholders.
SEAHUM also encouraged the Indonesian government and ASEAN to commit support for the protection of the human rights of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.
During the summit, Parni Hadi, a founder of Dompet Dhuafa, said Indonesia should launch a measure of total diplomacy, which he called “civic diplomacy”. This diplomacy, which involves the people instead of depending on governments, is similar to public diplomacy.
According to Parni, civic diplomacy involves “people to people” contact through all means, involving social media and conventional media (press diplomacy) with particular emphases on social (humanitarian) and concrete cultural activities. ...

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