“The persecution of the Rohingya community in Myanmar is a well documented violation of basic human rights of a whole community, with elements of ethnic cleansing and genocide,” Aegile Fernandez, co-director of Malaysia-based human rights group, Tenaganita, said in a statement.
“It is a crisis that has lasted over half a century with no end in sight.
“It is shameful for Asian countries to ignore the plight of the Rohingya community in their pursuit of their own business interests in Myanmar,” she said.
Asian countries should recognise their responsibility to ensure that Myanmar gives full recognition to all communities in the country including the Rohingya population, Aegile said.
Beginning in last October after an attack on Myanmar border police outposts, the Myanmar government has been carrying out a massive crackdown on the Rohingya community. At least 65,000 have crossed the border to flee the violence and at least 500 people are dead, according to various watchdogs.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Rohingya militant group Harakah al-Yaqin has claimed responsibility for the October attacks.
“The current uprising among the Rohingya is a natural progression for any community living in conditions of persecution,” Aegile said, adding that the failure to resolve the crisis would lead to an escalation of armed conflict in the region with foreign powers using the conflict to wage their own proxy wars.
“The arms industry will see this situation as another opportunity to expand their market,” she added.
The escalation of conflict in Myanmar involving the Rohingya community will result in a greater outflow of refugees into Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and other south East Asian countries, she warned.
“Furthermore, a community that is persecuted and disenfranchised is a fertile breeding ground for terrorist groups with extremist ideologies.”
It was in the best interests of the regional and international community to work together towards a peaceful and just resolution of this crisis and to recognise the Rohingya as full citizens of Myanmar, Aegile said.