Myanmar and the Philippines have commonalities which are their immensely controversial leaders and huge internal problems, one of which is that of getting an international play but which misses out on its complexities.
The vote against the United Nations (UN) resolution in effect imposes on Myanmar actions regarding the fate of the Rohingyan minorities who have held an exodus to Bangladesh.
At first sight, the situation is appalling since around 600,000 Rohingya Muslims, who are treated by the Buddhists majority as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, have fled the country trying to escape the violent military crackdown.
Myanmar soldiers set fire to homes and shot civilians as they tried to escape and this is happening in a country which has as a de facto leader Nobel Peace Prize winner and supposed democracy defender Aung San Suu Kyi.
The problem, however, involves matters that more than meets the eye similar to the allegations of extrajudicial killings being leveled against President Rody in the conduct of his war on drugs.
The draft UN resolution called for Rohingyan’s full and unhindered access to humanitarian aid and for Myanmar to grant full citizenship rights to members of the Muslim minority.
The Philippines was one of 10 nations that opposed it.
The Philippine vote against the UN resolution did not mean that it is ignoring the plight of the Rohingyan Muslims but a recognition that it should be left for the government of Myanmar with help from the international community to resolve.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Philippines is fully aware that the problems facing the Rakhine State in Myanmar have deep historical roots and that the Myanmar’s effort toward resolving the issues is acknowledged.
Suu Kyi can’t even be accused of not doing anything to resolve the problem. Myanmar had set up of an Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by former UN Secretary General Dr. Kofi Annan along with the establishment of a ministerial-level committee to immediately carry out the recommendations of the body.
The Philippines would also be hard put if it abstains from the vote as what Ambassador to the UN Teddy Locsin recommended since the country would have failed to establish its position against external intervention with an abstention.
The same foreign pressure is being applied on Rody regarding the war on drugs and allegations of rights violation of suspected traffickers including the unproven charges of extrajudicial killings.
“Isolation and censure would only add to the difficulty the people there are now facing,” Roque said which is a statement that similarly applies to the foreign interference on the anti-narcotics campaign.
China’s formula to resolve the problem is more rational which is for Bangladesh and Myanmar to hold consultations regarding the problem.
Instead of condemning Myanmar, China said the international community and the United Nations Security Council should encourage a dialog between both countries by creating conditions and good atmosphere for the consultations.
The advantage of China’s proposal over the UN resolution is that both Myanmar and Bangladesh are favorable to it.
The Chinese formula involves, first, a ceasefire to stop the displacement of the Muslim minorities and to allow the start of a dialog between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who was recently in both Myanmar and Bangladesh to help resolve the problem stressed that since poverty is the root of turbulence and conflict, the international community should support poverty alleviation efforts in the Rakhine state. Wang said that this is a long-term solution to the crisis.
The bottomline is that solution to the Rohingyan problem is best left to the countries which understand its complexities that are Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The international community’s effective role would be to provide an atmosphere that would encourage a speedy and lasting solution to the problem.
Courtesy: The Daily Tribune | Wednesday, 22 November 2017
ASEAN NEWSPAPER OPINIONS AND EDITORIALS
7.1. Self-determination vote > The Daily Tribune
7.2. A peace treaty, not just peace talks > The Manila Bulletin
7.3. Empathy is a start > The Manila Standard
7.4. PLUNDER RAPS > . The Manila Times
7.5. ‘No ‘RevGov’ > The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
7.6. So indict him > The Philippine Star
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