[16 March 2018, Sydney] Australia will host a summit for leaders from the 10-country Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) this weekend. Among the attendees will be Burma’s de-facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in the face of mass atrocities by the Burmese security forces, referred to as the Tatmadaw. UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee reports that the Tatmadaw’s vicious crimes bear the “hallmarks of genocide” and suggests that Aung San Suu Kyi may be complicit in the massacres.
We call on Prime Minister Turnbull to not mince words when he meets with Aung San Suu Kyi at the Summit. He should:
condemn the atrocities against the Rohingya;
call for an immediate end to the Tatmadaw’s continuing campaign of violence, arson, destruction and forced starvation;
urge the Burmese government to allow UN human rights investigators into the country;
press for a timetable to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State; and
call on other ASEAN states to make the same demands of Suu Kyi’s government.
Leaders at the Summit intend to sign a MOU for an Australia-ASEAN Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism. We urge Turnbull’s government to ensure that counter-terrorism cooperation with Burma does not feed further violations against the Rohingya and other minorities. The Tatmadaw often use dubious claims of terrorism as grounds to commit human rights violations, incite violence, and repress political discourse.
The Australia-ASEAN Summit comes on the heels of revelations that Australia’s defence department will spend nearly $400,000 on defence cooperation with the Tatmadaw. In light of the atrocities, we implore Australia to join its allies like the US, UK, and Canada and immediately cut defence ties with the Tatmadaw. These funds should be redirected to support the refugees in Bangladesh.
The Burmese authorities have sought to erase the very existence of the Rohingya simply because of their identity. Australia must use the Summit to prioritize human rights and stand with the countless Rohingya victims and survivors.
For Media Enquires Please Contact
Mahammed Junite, Public Relations Officer, Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia
Telephone: +61 452 238 217
Dr. Anita Schug, Spokesperson of the European Rohingya Council
Kyaw Win, Executive Director of the Burma Human Rights Network
Telephone: +44 740 345 2378