Rohingya solution pressed
YANGON—The United Nations reviewing human rights in Myanmar has acknowledged that a third party facilitator may help resolve the violence against minority Rohingya Muslims in the conflicted Rakhine state.
UN special rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana underscored the need to “find space for dialog” in an interview Thursday.
“I don’t see any other way,” he said without discussing how the Association of Southeast Asian Nations can firm up a mechanism.
“In order to start a process of dialogue, it’s necessary to build trust. That’s our challenge and that’s our hope.”
Quintana said the Rohingya issue has become a regional problem that ASEAN must confront.
The UN special rapporteur is on an 11-day visit to assess the human rights situation in several areas in Myanmar.
Quintana has visited Myanmar eight times since 2008, when the country was under a military regime.
But a spokesman of President Thein Sein said the Rohingya issue must be left out of the agenda when Myanmar takes on the chairmanship of ASEAN four months from now.
Deputy information minister Ye Htut said there was no proof that Rohingya Muslims that have entered other ASEAN countries came from Myanmar and were displaced because of the violence in Rakhine.
“Even if there are a lot of refugees, you cannot prove they are from Rakhine. Those refugees cannot speak Burmese (nor) prove they have relatives in Rakhine. The easiest way to get refugee status in other countries is to say you are Rakhine (and that is being abused),” he said.
“The Rakhine issue will not be in the ASEAN agenda. It is our country’s internal and domestic issue. This is our problem, not a regional problem,” Htut said.
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