International Desk: Southeast Asian leaders met Sunday for a second day of a summit in Bangkok, where they were expected to discuss pressing regional issues including the plight of Myanmar’s fleeing Rohingyas and the South China Sea dispute.
Leaders of the 10 countries on Saturday adopted a joint declaration against marine plastic pollution and stressed the importance of a regional trade pact first proposed by China.
ASEAN leaders face calls from rights groups to rethink support for plans to repatriate Rohingya Muslims who have fled member state Myanmar, where activists say returnees could face discrimination and persecution.
More than 700,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh in 2017, according to U.N. agencies, after a crackdown by Myanmar’s military sparked by Rohingya insurgent attacks on security forces.
Malaysia’s foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah on Saturday called for perpetrators of massacres and atrocities against the Rohingya to be “brought to justice,” according to a tweet issued by his ministry.
“The repatriation process must include the citizenship of the Rohingyas,” Saifuddin said.
“The Rohingya issue is a major test for the capability of ASEAN to make good on its words about being “One Caring and Sharing Community,” said Marty Natalegawa, a former Indonesian foreign minister, recalling a 2007 declaration the group made in Cebu, the Philippines.
“Developments in Myanmar ... is providing a litmus test for ASEAN’s capacity to manage developments in one of its member states that have wider ramifications for the region and, indeed, beyond,” Natalegawa said.
risingbd/Dhaka/June 23, 2019/AI