The plight of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers from Myanmar and Bangladesh, left adrift without food and water for nearly a week, has all the hallmarks of a full-blown humanitarian crisis. Yet despite statements of concern from governments, aid agencies and human rights groups, there is little sign of a coordinated plan to address the issue. Boats have been spotted off the coasts of Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, apparently abandoned by human trafficking gangs who operate across maritime and land borders and shunned by regional powers.
The UN’s rights envoy to Myanmar has expressed alarm over the enactment of a controversial population control law, the first of four race and religion bills considered to be discriminatory against ethnic and religious minorities.
Hate, racism have no place in Buddhism
Credit a top US diplomat for raising the issue of fast-growing religious intolerance in our region. Tom Malinowski, an official of the human rights office of the US State Department, made his comments last week in Myanmar. It was the perfect spot. It also drew the expected reaction: nothing. His message that hate and calls for violence were surfacing among some mainstream Buddhists in Myanmar and in Sri Lanka was overdue and bears strong repetition and opposition.