Violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state must stop, humanitarian aid needed now: Vivian Balakrishnan

Dr Balakrishnan addressing the UNGA on Sept 23, 2017.
Dr Balakrishnan addressing the UNGA on Sept 23, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK - There was a clear consensus in Asean countries meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York that “the violence (in Myanmar's Rakhine state) has to stop and it has to stop now,” Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, said on Tuesday (Sept 26).

Speaking in New York, at the conclusion of his visit to attend the UNGA and a slew of other bilateral and multilateral meetings, Dr Balakrishnan said: “There has been too much loss of life, damage to property, destruction of homes, displacement of refugees.

“There was no question, (there was) total consensus, that the violence has to stop, it has to stop now.

“The second area of clear consensus was humanitarian assistance is needed,” the Minister told The Straits Times.

“It needs to be delivered now, and it needs to reach all affected communities, both those who have been displaced to the Bangladesh side of the border as well as the affected communities within Rakhine state itself,” he said.

“On the Asean side, we have activated the Asean humanitarian assistance centre and this will enable Asean to also play a role in actually delivering assistance to all the affected communities without discrimination,” he said.

 

“Everyone in need should receive assistance,” he emphasised.

“The third area of consensus was you need a long term political solution; this can only occur through reconciliation and constructive and positive dialogue,” he said.

“If that situation is allowed to fester or get worse, the anxiety is that will become another potential sanctuary or breeding site for extremism or terrorism,” he cautioned.