Rohingyas bring a statement to ASEAN Summit, police block them

Displaced Rohinyas in Rakhine State
Source: Wikipedia

On Sunday 23 June, the Rohingya Community in Thailand planned to hand a statement to Myanmar, Thailand as ASEAN’s chair, and the leaders of the ASEAN countries, but the police blocked them. They therefore decided not to go to the ASEAN Summit and Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and instead hand the statement to a reporter in order to send a message calling for a nationality, civil rights, the right to return to their land, access to education, medical services, and the legal right to live and work in foreign countries.

Read the full statement below:

To the Heads of ASEAN Governments

As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convenes the 34th ASEAN Summit on June 22-23 in Thailand, the leaders are pursuing an agenda to ensure ASEAN is a people-centred grouping dedicated to sustainable development. Heads of governments from member countries will discuss the Rakhine crisis and the fate of nearly one million Rohingya refugees being sheltered in Bangladesh.

Speaking to this, we are members of the Rohingya community in Thailand, representing our brothers and sisters who were forced to flee from the strife-torn Rakhine State in Myanmar. We are here to express our concerns and to appeal for assistance from the ASEAN leaders.

We call on the government of Myanmar:

1. To verify and grant citizenship to all displaced Rohingya, both those who fled from Rakhine State and those who remained.

2. To guarantee the safety of Rohingya refugees who voluntarily agree to return home to Myanmar.

3. To guarantee citizenship rights for the Rohingya, as well as their rights to live their lives and enjoy their property in full equality with other Myanmar citizens.

4. To grant Rohingya the right to an education at all levels and degrees.

5. To ensure Rohingya have equal access to proper healthcare services in Myanmar.

6. To guarantee Rohingya the equal right to serve in the civil, police and defence services of Myanmar’s government.

We call on the governments of ASEAN member states:

1. To verify and document Rohingya migrants in order for them to have the legal status required to live and work in host countries legally.

2. To consider granting permanent residence status to Rohingya who have lived for an extended period in ASEAN member states and are not willing to return to Myanmar.

We call on the government of Thailand, this year’s chair of ASEAN:

1. To grant relief to those Rohingya whose work permits expire in March 2020 but whose nationality remains unverified.

2. To register, verify and seek measures to grant proper legal status to Rohingya migrants who have lived and worked in Thailand for an extended period.

3. To halt application of the “Help for Further Travel” policy to those Rohingya refugees who entered Thailand in transit to third countries, as the policy encourages human trafficking.

4. To provide humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya, and inform them of their rights in order to prevent human trafficking.

We are not a burden on any country, and believe there remains room for the Rohingya to contribute to the construction and development of ASEAN for the benefit of all people in the region.

Rohingya Community in Thailand