In January 2018, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) undertook a fact-finding mission to Bangladesh aimed at examining the causes, impacts, and implications of the crisis that followed a 2017 crackdown by Myanmar security forces on Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State. The delegation, which included current and former legislators from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, traveled to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar from 21 to 24 January 2018 to visit the camps where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya had settled in the preceding five months and to speak with refugees, as well as government officials and representatives from humanitarian organizations.
APHR focused on gathering information on human rights violations that Rohingya experienced in Myanmar, as well as rights concerns affecting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The delegation also sought to gain a clearer understanding of the proposed repatriation process, amid concerns about the potential for unsafe and involuntary returns to Myanmar. The findings of the mission, which are detailed in this report, build on APHR’s previous work on the human rights situation in Myanmar and compliment a wide body of additional research and documentation being carried out by other groups.
The report is divided into four sections. The first three address human rights issues through a temporal framework – past, present, and future – designed to approach the issues in a holistic manner. They cover specific human rights concerns for Rohingya in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, beginning with atrocities committed in the context of the crackdown, moving onto protection concerns for refugees in Bangladesh and ongoing rights violations in Myanmar, and finally addressing potential future violations in the context of repatriation and medium- and long-term residency in Bangladesh. The final section discusses the role of ASEAN in working toward a resolution, which also formed a key component of APHR’s investigation. The report concludes with recommendations for the Myanmar government, the Bangladeshi government, and ASEAN and member state governments.