KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to work closely with ASEAN to expedite the resettlement process of UNHCR Cardholders to third countries as the spillover effects of the Rakhine State crisis continues to impact the region.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also asked ASEAN to find an effective solution for the crisis.
“What are we in ASEAN doing to help each other in finding an effective solution for the Rakhine State? ASEAN must do more to help Myanmar, and Myanmar must also do more to help itself for this crisis to be put behind us, and development can take place in a meaningful way,” he said.
Muhyiddin said this during the 36th ASEAN Summit, held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hosted by Vietnam, here today. He joined the Summit from Putrajaya.
The Prime Minister said Malaysia can no longer take more refugees as its resources and capacity is already stretched, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that Malaysia is unfairly expected to do more to accommodate incoming refugees.
“Despite Malaysia not being Party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, we have provided humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya refugees, and other refugees from Myanmar.
“But this situation cannot continue forever,” he said.
Malaysia, Muhyiddin said, has consistently advocated for a durable solution to the dire plight of the Rohingyas in the Rakhine State, who are increasingly susceptible to exploitation including to cross-border crimes such as smuggling, human trafficking and slavery.
“Their deprivation and frustration could also lead to potential recruitments by terrorists and extremists who have remained silent during the pandemic. Their silence must never be misconstrued as inactivity as they still pose a serious security threat to us as a region,” he said.
The Prime Minister also said ASEAN must adopt a comprehensive approach to combat and contain the irregular movement of people to seriously prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, where human trafficking syndicates exploit the vulnerability of the refugees.
Source: NAM News Network