September 7, 2017. Amidst horrifying reports of the murders of children, attacks on civilians, rape and concerns of genocide emerging in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the Australian Government should act immediately to resolve the escalating regional crisis.
Paul Power, CEO of Refugee Council of Australia said “The Turnbull Government should act urgently to bring political pressure to cease the military crackdown on the Rohingya, through the delivery of emergency assistance and additionally, through the provision of refuge for people who have been forced to flee their homeland.”
“As the Australian Government seeks a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, Australia has an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in the international response to this crisis.
Mr Power said, “The Australian Foreign Minister should seek an end to the conflict directly with the Myanmar Ambassador to Australia. Additionally Australia should be seeking to work with key states in the region to bring political pressure to end the attacks on the Rohingya and allow for independent investigators into the Rakhine State to examine what has occurred, and the perpetrators brought to justice.
“Australia should also act quickly to scale up its humanitarian support for Rohingya within the targeted area and for the many thousands of refugees who have been forced to flee to Bangladesh and surrounding countries.
“There is also the opportunity to show global leadership in assisting the resettlement of those who have been displaced. Australia has resettled just a handful of Rohingya refugees in recent years despite hundreds being either held in immigration detention on Manus, Nauru or in Australia and others enduring prolonged delays to their refugee applications. Australia’s provision of an additional humanitarian intake for Rohingya would illustrate the nation’s commitment to the Asia Pacific region and its intention to provide humanitarian leadership,” Mr Power said.
The UN has recently reported ‘devastating cruelty’ enacted against the Rohingya and documented the slaughter of Rohingya babies and children and the widespread practice of rape by military actors in Myanmar. Despite this ongoing regional crisis targeted directly at the Rohingya, Australia has committed just $8 million of its $3.8 billion aid program in direct humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya, equivalent to just 0.2%.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim O’Connor 0431 147 366