Bankok Post
Newspaper section: News

Muslim activists from Malaysia are spearheading a call for Asean to work for justice and peace in Burma, southern Thailand and the Philippines.

A statement was issued on Friday by 45 organisations led by two Malaysian NGOs – Nusantara Initiatives for Justice and Peace and Citizens International – urging the regional body to pursue that goal.

It called on the Asean governments to immediately resolve the tragic plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma, conflicts affecting Muslims in Thailand’s restive South, and the struggle of the Bangsamoro in Mindanao, through mutual consultation and collective effort between the Asean governments based on justice and the legitimate rights of the people.

The call was made ahead of the 15th Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit kicking off next Friday in Phetchaburi’s Cha-am district and Hua Hin district in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

They have urged Asean to set up a regional truth and reconciliation commission to deal with the political and religious problems besetting Burma, Thailand and the Philippines to rebuild justice and trust among all communities and institutions by addressing and tackling past human rights violations.

The statement was issued in light of the 2nd Asean People’s Forum taking place today in Cha-am as a parallel forum to the Asean summit.

“To build up an Asean Community that is socially just, economically sustainable, culturally rooted and vibrant, environmentally sensitive and politically stable, justice and peace needs to be a framework to address socio-economic needs and traditional and cultural roots of the people,” said Mohammad Hamid, from Nusantara Initiatives at the Islamic Center in Bangkok.

They condemned the high-handed military operations undertaken by certain Asean governments under the pretext of combating terrorism, separatism and radicalism.

Such efforts have only exacerbated the conflicts, deepened the injustice and victimised the people, leading to arbitrary arrests, extortions, abductions, extrajudicial killings, torture, illegal confiscation of property, draconian laws and other violations of universal human rights, he said.

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