The Philippines explained that the trust fund of the Association Southeast Nations (ASEAN) may be used to help persecuted Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh from Myanmar.
Secretary Catalino Cuy of the Interior and Local Government, who chairs the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC), announced the move after the closing session in Manila on Thursday.
According to Cuy, the mass exodus of the Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh may be categorized as irregular movement and therefore they may benefit from the trust fund.
He said Rohingya may qualify for accessing the trust fund the ASEAN has developed and that it is the Secretariat that must approve if there is an initiative to use the trust fund for irregular movement to help them.
Since 1978, the Rohingya people have been facing military crackdowns which the United Nations and Human Rights Watch have described Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing.
There were an estimated one million Rohingya living in Myanmar before the 2016 and 2017 crisis, the majority are Muslims while a minority are Hindus.—Agencies