Looking for 'Asean way' in Rohingya crisis

Looking for 'Asean way' in Rohingya crisis

In the end, whether the Rohingya are 'refugees' or 'displaced persons', they are not coming back to Myanmar. (Reuters photo)
In the end, whether the Rohingya are 'refugees' or 'displaced persons', they are not coming back to Myanmar. (Reuters photo)

In Asean's search for a role in the maze that is the political and humanitarian disaster unfolding from Myanmar's Rakhine crisis, it is finding that some paths are closed off, a few remain passable despite barriers -- and others are clear but way too risky to head into.

Asean is no stranger to being criticised for inaction. But the challenges thrown up by Myanmar's crisis are not only unique, but undesired by a grouping that believes it has been able to understand that nation through decades of "constructive engagement" and thus has a much stronger connection to it than non-Asean countries.

Can Asean show results from its quiet diplomacy versus others' megaphone diplomacy? What new approach can it pull from its hat, given the credibility it built with Myanmar after it coordinated international help after Cyclone Nargis in 2008, to respond to this especially uncomfortable situation?

Please log in here to fully view this exclusive content. If you aren't a member yet, simply sign up here. It's totally free & takes only a minute.

Johanna Son

Filipina journalist

Johanna Son, based in Bangkok, is a Filipina journalist and editor who covers issues relating to Asia and Asean. She has been based in Thailand for 16 years.

Do you like the content of this article?

Hungry for eased rules

The government's recent ban on dining in at restaurants in major cities and reports of more Covid infections at some high-profile restaurants have sounded the death knell for many eateries.


FAT chief hails Foxes' milestone

Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Pol Gen Somyot Poompunmuang has congratulated the Srivaddhanaprabha family, which owns King Power Group, on Leicester City's victory in the English FA Cup.


New field hospital

A new field hospital has opened at Impact Muang Thong Thani for up to 5,000 Covid-19 patients with moderate symptoms from Bangkok and its surrounding provinces.