REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA – Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) for South East Asia, Dr Phil Robertson, cited the humanitarian crisis that threathened Rohingya people. “At this point, Myanmar government denies access any aid agencies to Arakan,” he said in a press conference on Friday.
To make it worse, the government of Bangladesh also closes its border and denies any access to enter the country. “Thousands of Rohingya flee to Bangladesh but being pushed back out to the sea, during the monsoon season in the Andaman Sea”, he said then added that some boats had been rejected three times to enter Bangladesh. “Children died.”
He urged neighbor countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, and also ASEAN to address the issue with Myanmar. Roberston expected the OIC to put some pressure on Bangladesh to protect civilian Rohingya.
“We may not expect to see some pressure from traditional countries like Europe or the United States, but Muslim countries such Indonesia and Malaysia can put some pressure (towrds Bangladesh and Myanmar -Ed),” he said.
“If you do not do anything, then Rohingya refugees will keep coming down, especially after the monsoon season in the Andaman Sea.”
Robertson cited that on July 8, President Obama announced regulation on authorization the US investment in Myanmar. While high representative of EU, Catherine Ashton, also more focused on trade between EU and Myanmar but neglected the issue about low paid labors in Myanmar. “Then we have romantic narrative about how to lift the sanction while the issue of Rohingya get less attention,” Robertson argued.
“Now the Muslims are afraid to leave because they know that they will not be able to come back,” he added then explained that the Rohingya were caught in Arakan and could not move freely to fulfill their daily needs. Rohingya is under crisis with poor sanitation, lacking of food, and clean water. The crisis now is heading to malnutrition.
HRW then produced some recommendations, including ask Myamar to provide access to humanitarian aids, international media, and other organizations. The government, it said, must provide sustainable equal protection to all and investigate the incident on both sides.
Reconciliation is also among the recommendation, “With both sides sit equally and not one side being tied their hands, and earn the Rohingya citizenship.”
Myanmar government denied citizenship for Rohingya although the ethnic group had been living in Arakan for some generations. Their condition was worrisome, Robertson said, “It is difficult for them to get married, status of their children, and since they are not citizen, they tend to suffer from beating, torture, or extortion.”