A report says the plight of the Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar continues “apace” despite attempts by several Southeast Asian countries to address the issue under international pressure.
An article published on the website of The Economist on Saturday said authorities from 18 Asian countries as well as representatives from Switzerland, the US and a number of UN agencies held a summit on May 29 in the Thai capital of Bangkok.
The article, titled “Still in Peril,” referred to the recent reports of migrants having been stranded in dangerous conditions in the Indian Ocean as well as the discovery of graves at migrant sites in Myanmar and said the summit was held after the harrowing revelations became public.
Among the migrants are Rohingya Muslims, who have faced persecution in Myanmar and have been fleeing the violence there since 2012.
The United Nations (UN) has described Myanmar’s 800,000 Rohingya Muslims as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.
A migrant crisis erupted when Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, potential destinations for the fleeing Rohingyas, began turning their boats away, leaving thousands of them in perilous conditions at sea.
Graves have recently been found in suspected human trafficking camps in Malaysia, where the remains of Rohingya migrants are believed to have been buried under yet unknown circumstances.
The Economist piece said that the participants in the Bangkok summit “produced expected statements of ‘grave concern’ and calls to establish task forces, improve communication and boost data-sharing and co-operation among various law-enforcement agencies.”
The representatives of Myanmar at the meeting criticized the UN and the international community for branding the country as the root cause of the migrant crisis involving Rohingya Muslims.
The article said, however, that “Rohingya migrants are indeed escaping ghastly mistreatment” by the people in Myanmar, “who have corralled them into camps.”
Concern was expressed in the article about the potential return of the situation back to misery for Rohingyas once the international attention drifts away.
“The trafficking networks may have been shut down for now, but as long as people remain desperate to flee they will re-emerge,” it read.
Elections are upcoming in Myanmar, it said, adding that politicians in the country are averse to championing the cause of the Rohingya Muslims.