IIUM Student Leaders' Joint Communique on Rohingya Issue

(Photo: aljazeera.com)

Rohingya: At A Glance

Rohingyas are known as Muslims living in the state of Rohang, Myanmar. In 1988, their citizenship were cancelled by military junta and today, the stateless muslim ethnic group are stranded in the middle of the sea. Myanmar claims that the Ronghiyas are from Bangladesh and Myanmar refuses to acknowledge them as minorities in the country. The Ronghiyas were also not accepted by Bangladesh as they claimed that Ronghiyas does not originated from Bangladesh though there are similarities in language.

Now, hunger and thirst have befallen the Ronghiyas as they have nowhere to go and other countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia could not accept more migrants as they are huge in number but the countries are only able to provide help such as giving food, water and clothes for them to survive. They are being denied landfall in Southeast Asia. It has laid bare the region's religious and ethnic prejudices as well as its fears of being swamped by an influx of migrants.

Myanmar military government said that:

(1) Rohingya are not a genuine ethnic group but are Bengali migrants whose presence is an unwelcome legacy of colonial times.

(2) Rohingya are denied citizenship, freedom to travel, access to education and other benefits in Myanmar, though they have sometimes been allowed to vote. In a country where anti-Muslim sentiment is widespread, they are often persecuted.

(3) It is not encouraging an exodus, but the Rohingya say Myanmar's policies are driving them to flee. They accuse local officials of complicity in migrant trafficking.

Neighbour’s Response on Rohingya Crisis

Thai and Malaysian navies have both turned away refugee boats in recent days. Indonesia has taken in some migrants but is now refusing to accept them.

Predominantly, Buddhist Thailand has been battling an Islamist insurgency in its south for decades and has "no stomach" for bringing in more Muslims. In any case, the country has a long history of dealing with unwanted migrants fleeing conflict in Cambodia and has no desire to repeat that, Rieffel says.

For the Thailand, the Prime Minister is concern about the budget if they want to save them. For Indonesia and Malaysia, both Muslim-majority countries, the issue is less clear-cut, but they are also interested in avoiding the appearance that they are opening the gates as it will create social issues

Most of the coutries afraid that if they accept them, there will be an 'uncontrolled influx'.

To the Government of Myanmar

Thus, in this kind of situation, we urge the Government of Myanmar to:

(1) Supervise the humanitarian access of those being affected by conflict and take action against those who intimidate humanitarian agencies.

(2) Come up with a way to ensure safe voluntary movements.

(3) Provide protection to the people of the state of Rokhine by putting an end to impunity, prosecute offenders comitting violence through a just judicial system, arrange for the release of those who have been unjustly arrested.

(4) Ensure that all persons have equal rights and access to citizenship and not being discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity by reviewing the 1982 Citizenship Act and other discriminatory laws.

Some experts say that simply towing refugees back out to sea may be illegal under international maritime law. However, according to Lawrence B. Brennan, a professor of admiralty and international law at Fordham University, "Maritime law has the concept of 'port of refuge' for ships and people in peril at sea. There is a long-standing tradition of providing aid and comfort to people who are in danger."

Thus, the international obligation of all countries requires people to protect all persons subject to their jurisdiction regardless of whether they are citizens, stateless person, or seekers or refugees.

To the Government of Malaysia, the Chair of ASEAN

Therefore, we also urge the Malaysian Government to give basic aid to the Rohingyas stranded on the boat that includes food, clean water and temporary shelter for them.

We also urge the Malaysian Government as the Chair of ASEAN, to organize an urgent meeting with all ASEAN members to solve this issue now and forever. We really think that a solution must be reached as fast as possible.

Therefore, we hope that the refugees would be protected by refugee recipient countries by taking into account the acute and specific protection of stateless Rohingya as soon as possible. This is an issue of humanity. We also strongly urge that all the violence, denial of rights, discrimination and abuse must end now as an act of Genocide is clearly prohibited by the International Law.

Our Responsibility

In conclusion, we especially being a Muslims, this is our obligation to help our brothers who are in need, as the Prophet SAW told that,

من لم يهتم بأمر المسلمين فليس منهم

"Those who do not care about the condition of fellow muslims, they are not one of them."

To fellow IIUM Community members, we really hope that all of us can be aware on this issue and show our concern to our fellow Muslims. It is our responsibility to be aware and help them in what ever capabilities we have. Channel your donation to respective foundations and collection bodies. May our small contribution be counted as a form of goodness towards mankind.

Speaker, IIUM Student Leaders' Assembly

17 May 2015


This Joint Communique was endorsed by, of IIUM: 

Students' Representative Council (SRC)

Mahallah Representative Coordination Committee (MRCC)


Kulliyyah-based Societies
Law Students' Society (LAWSOC)
Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Science Students' Society (IRKHSSS)
Economics and Management Sciences Students' Society (EMSS)
Kulliyyah of Languages and Management Students' Society (KLMSS)
Engineering Students' Society (ENGINIUS)
Bachelor of Education Students' Association (BEDSA)
ICT Students' Society (ICTSS)

Department-based Society
Islamic Revealed Knowledge Students' Secretariat (IRKSS)

Central Clubs
Sahabat YADIM
Malaysian Red Crescent, IIUM Chapter
Wawasan Club
Ma'ruf Club
Journalism Club (JC)
Sekretariat Pencegahan Rasuah
Sekretariat Rakan Muda
Permuafakatan Siswa-Siswi FELDA (PERSADA)
Student Facilitating Front (STUFF)

Uniformed Bodies
Voluntary Police Club (VIPC)
Rover Scout

IWON Clubs
Arabic Debating and Public Speaking Club (ADC)
Model United Nations (MUN)

BUDI Clubs
Quranic Youth Club (QYC)
Jam'iyah Khadamat al-Quran (JKQ)
Sendi Club
Titian Asli Club
Sekretariat PERKIM
Gemilang Club

OIA Societies
Al-Aqsa Friends' Society
The Muslim Heroes Society

EDC Clubs
Entrepreneurship Club (EC)
Koperasi Keusahawanan Pelajar UIAM Bhd. (KOSISWA UIAM)

Andeka Caklempong Club

SDC Club
Canoe and Rowing Club