Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Burmese Refugee Crisis: National Reconciliation or Dialogue A Must

By Mohammad Sadek*

Indeed, the National Reconciliation among Burmese people and authority have been alarming for decades in order to achieve the goal of democratic changes in the country and that definitely shall assist the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in building bridge to strengthen its regional cooperation.

In timely action, the Burmese people would solute the Malaysian Primer Datuk Seri Mohammed Najib Tun Abdur Razak for his pro-active call to the ruling military regime for national reconciliation.

On the other hand, the States Department of the United States of America has also been pushing for the same National Reconciliation in order to achieve the goal of democracy and to find solution for the Burmese refugees in neighboring countries.

The process of reconciliation/dialogue is much more important than other initiative as it helps to bring inclusive decisions and promote concept of people in respecting every individual efforts and rights for the establishment of peace, justice and equality with full human dignity in the country. These steps may be able to lay a foundation stone for genuine federal democracy.

Nevertheless, Burma's peace depends on neighboring countries' encouragements, while they are carrying the burdens of refugees like tens of thousand of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh for whom no alternative solution is found, while Chin refugees in India, Shan, Karen, Karenni, Kachin, Mon and other ethnic minority refugees in Thailand are also in notable situation.

In Malaysia chapter, Rohingya refugee issue is kept under the carpet, while other ethnic refugee issues from the same country are comparatively in progressive way to a meaningful solution. Over 84,000 refugees and asylum seekers are from various countries registered with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia, while bulk of them are still remain undocumented. This number was doubled in within one year.

Meanwhile, burdens are increasing day by day and thus finding solution towards these burdens is urgently required for which tripartite dialogues among all stake holders like the UN Refugee Agency, Host Government and genuine refugee representatives together with International Human Rights Defenders. Such dialogues may be able to identify a perfect way to achieve national reconciliation process from people level to governing position.

In current atmosphere, refugee communities from Burma have been facing challenges of disunity, ignoring each other causes, soaring for opportunities by means of racial, religious and ethnical excellences. Such things bring defamation to concerned quarters as its prioritization proves to discriminations.

By every circumstance, national reconciliation and reforms dialogues are the key tools to achieve goals. With a view to ending the refugee crises, urgent steps should be taken for the dialogue among the concerned stakeholders and that will pave a role to ensure the rights of refugees and their protection through effective and global initiatives. ##

* Writer is Program Coordinator of the Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC), Malaysia and the General Secretary of the National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR) exile, South East Asia Regional Office, Malaysia.

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