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Statement of the Coalition of Young People of Indonesia for ASEAN

By Coalition of Young People of Indonesia for ASEAN  •  May 18, 2015

“The way ASEAN handled the issue of Rohingya refugees is a real proof of a major step back in ASEAN values of humanity“

Greeting of peace

Dear ASEAN Community, lately we have been surprised by the news of forced migration of Rohingya people from Myanmar. More than 500 people were desperate to cross the sea to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Young people, women and children involved in the shipping. For days they were on the ship without adequate food and clean water. As a result, some of them ran out of energy and got very ill through out their struggle for freedom.

Rohingya’s decision was based on a big reason. More than 1 million people in Myanmar identify as Rohingya who are denied existence by Myanmar military government. They could no longer stand on the conflict and genocide that attack them constantly. Not only a decent life, but their recognition as citizens is also denied. Many of them do not have citizenship (stateless) and denied freedom, access, and other rights as human being in Myanmar. This problem has been widely voiced by young people and civil society in ASEAN, but the response from the ASEAN government is extremely poor. Ethnic cleansing, prosecution, and many forms of injustice towards Rohingya people continue to occur on daily basis.

Yet, their dream of freedom vanished for the ones who made it alive escaping Myanmar border. Thailand, their first destination, prompted them to stay offshore to avoid capture although they ‘kindly’ provided basic humanitarian supplies. The best scenario for them in Thailand is to be provided with onshore refuge camp but no chance of being permanent settlers. If they arrived in Malaysia, the Malaysian navy will repel their boats unless they are in dire straits. At last Indonesia, the world’s 3th largest democratic state with the largest Muslim population which make it one of the utopia state of many Rohingya’s, they were again denied. Illegal immigrants are not welcome in Indonesia, their boats were turned away with restock of fuel and food supplies and the stake of the ones who made it on shore of Indonesia is still on endless debate.

We, the Coalition of Young People of Indonesia for ASEAN (KoalisiPemuda Indonesia untuk ASEAN) are shocked and extremely disappointed with the fact that the ASEAN land that we live on has turned into a bunch of political territory that limits people’s freedom and dignity. ASEAN Community that we are all cherished has failed to recognize Rohingya people as part of ASEAN. ASEAN has denied human being and the way ASEAN handled the issue of Rohingya refugees is a real proof of a major step back in ASEAN values of humanity.

Whomever we are, wherever we are; we including Rohingya are human beings, we are ASEAN Community who have equal rights as anyone else in ASEAN, regardless of our identities. The State must protect every person who lived in the area of the state. The State has no reason to refuse anyone in need nor to force anyone to move or reside to other states for any reasons.

Each ASEAN state has procedures that regulates mobility and recidency of people. The perspective “immigrants are social trash” must be eliminated. In fact, immigrants including young immigrants have their self ability, creativity, spirit, and resilience to contribute to development in ASEAN.

If a State cannot accommodate their population, it must be ASEAN States’ collective responsibility to settle the challenge through rapid and peaceful processes. Selfishness of a certain State to solve their humanity challenges independently when it is clear for a fact that they have no quick solution of, will only lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.

Based on these humanitarian values and principles, we, the Coalition of Young People of Indonesia for ASEAN (Koalisi Pemuda Indonesia untuk ASEAN), a coalition of young people of Indonesia that has played an active part in the movement of young people in ASEAN since 2008, is urgently calling for these five critical recommendations towards ASEAN:

  1. To provide urgent and immediate protection towards Rohingya’s people who are currently floating on the sea;
  2. To urge the Myanmar government and military to stop ethnic cleansing, prosecution, and any forms of injustice towards Rohingya people;
  3. To urge the leaders of ASEAN States to immediately held a dialog to find and provide immediate solutions and sustainable solution towards the statelessness status of Rohingya people;
  4. Must ensure Rohingya immigrants are treated well and provided with good facilities from the State that they currently reside in. The availability of shelter, food, clean water, and proper clothing must be guaranteed; and
  5. To urge all ASEAN States to support each other to solve the problem in line with ASEAN strong commitment to support each other. In this case, ASEAN State Leaders must prove that commitment.

We are aware that there are many young people amongst Rohingya refugees. They deserve good life and bright futures. They should not think about conflict in the age that should be used for personal growth and development.

In the spirit of collectivity and solidarity, we urge the leaders of ASEAN States to meet our five critical recommendations above immediately. We will continue to control the embodiment of those recommendations.

Sincerely Yours,

Coalition of Young People of Indonesia for ASEAN

Organization: ASEAN Youth Assembly (AYA) Indonesia, Aliansi Remaja Independen (ARI), Arus Pelangi, Jaringan Aksi Perubahan Indonesia, Pergerakan Indonesia, Youth Interface Forum on Sexuality (YIFoS).

Individual: Ardhana Pragota, Rahmayana Fitri

For further information please contact ayf.indonesia@gmail.com


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