Having no agency in life and feeling entirely abandoned add to the already health-and-life threatening situation of the Rohingya in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. Without a clear regional response and international attention shifting elsewhere, minimum standards of living in the contained settlements are deteriorating, Doctors Without Borders’ Paul McPhun says in this conversation.
It will take time for Myanmar to dismantle the oppressive, dehumanising system in place for decades, says ex-refugee Hafsar Tameesuddin, who talks to us about the past and a future her Rohingya community imagines, and hope to see become reality one day. ‘Myanmar is my country, Rohingya is my identity’.
ASEAN has been testing its non-intervention habit in ways never done before, playing what is to date its biggest, most active role in relation to Myanmar’s handling of the Rohingya issue. But ASEAN’s role is little known or cared for inside the country, where the mainstream attitude is usually apathy or hostility to this minority community. Aung Zaw Min looks into why this so, in this feature for the Reporting ASEAN series.
For Lao film producer Vannaphone Sitthirath, a two-hour visit to the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh leads to reflections about the gift of having options in life, and questions about practices like polygamy. She shares these thoughts in this article for the Reporting ASEAN series.
Myanmar has become a case study for how disinformation, fake news and hate speech affect online space and content, and therefore, public perceptions and debates. In this Q & A, The Irrawaddy’s Moe Myint shares his insights about the challenges, some of them very dangerous for professional journalists, thrown up by the toxic online environment marked by misinformation and deep divisions in Myanmar today.
Reporting on the Rohingya is a tricky assignment, requiring Myanmar’s journalists to pick their way between pressures from the government and from the public. Many avoid discussing the topic too much for reasons of personal safety as well as the political and financial survival of their news outlets, explains Johanna Son in this Reporting ASEAN analysis.
ASEAN has a humanitarian and disaster response center, although many may not know it. The AHA Centre has been active in Myanmar’s Rakhine State – and has precious access owing to Myanmar’s comfort level with ASEAN – and in the wake of last year’s tensions in the Philippines’ Marawi City. This Q & A with the AHA Centre with Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son tells us more.
ASEAN has more credibility with Myanmar than other countries. But what ‘ASEAN way’ can it pull out of its hat to find a relevant, effective role in the humanitarian and political disaster flowing from the Rakhine state and refugee flows of mainly Rohingya people? Johanna Son looks at ASEAN’s options in this article published in the ‘Bangkok Post’.
The Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN during the organisation’s 50th year has been a bumpy road, Walden Bello points out this Reporting ASEAN commentary. The year has been marked by Malaysia’s breaking of the ASEAN consensus habit in the ASEAN chair’s statement on Rakhine state, the Philippines’ failure to push the social-protection mechanisms it listed as deliverables, and the Duterte government’s giving China a free pass in the South China Sea.
The visit this week by democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will certainly brighten the spirits of the Thai people and could also lift the profile of the Thai junta and Myanmar’s top leader. Yet Achara Ashayagachat of the Bangkok Post argues that we shouldn’t romanticize too much about “The Lady” and her capacity.
Dec 3 (The Jakarta Globe) – Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus supports the United Nations’ calls for urgent action to deliver humanitarian aid to displaced peoples in the country.