Myanmar 'open to assistance' for Rohingya, planning repatriation

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 13) — Myanmar is open to aid for and repatriation of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Monday.

"Myanmar specifically said that they are in the process of attending to the Kofi Annan report, that they welcome humanitarian assistance, and that the process of the repatriation for IDPs  (internally displaced persons) IDPs will conclude within three weeks after signing of a memorandum of agreement or understanding with Bangladesh," Roque said.

The Spokesperson was present at the closed-door plenary session of the 31st summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday.

Diplomatic sources said the Rohingya crisis was raised by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

A November 11 draft of the Chairman’s Statement, which will be released at the end of the summit, simply recognized the prompt response of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance in the “affected communities in Northern Rakhine State, Myanmar.” 

Related: Roque: Myanmar addressing Rohingya issue

Half a million Rohingya members poured into the Bangladesh border with Myanmar following violence in  the hands of the military this year. The Rohingya is a Muslim minority of Myanmar left out of the country’s  2014 census and 2015 elections.

Rohingya crisis: How we got here

The Advisory Commission on the Rakhine State, led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, released a report recommending specific actions to address the issue – including citizenship verification, rights and equality before the law, and documentation.

Democracy icon and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, whose perceived silence on the issue has drawn criticism worldwide, was present at the ASEAN summit.

Four UN  Special Rapporteurs  urged ASEAN to address "pressing human rights issues" in the region during the summit.

“We condemn the public vilification, harassment, arrests and killings of members of civil society, and call on Member States to rigorously uphold their duty to ensure the freedom and protection of those exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly,” the experts said on Friday.