Vol. 3 No. 4 (2016)

The Principle of Non-Interference and the Question of Human Rights Violation: The Case of the Rohingya Minority

Abdullahi Ayoade Ahmad
Department of International Relations School of Law and International Relations University Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia

Published 2016-12-28

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  • ASEAN, Ethnic minority, Internal affairs, Non-interference, Human rights violation, Refugees, Rohingya minorities.

How to Cite

Ahmad, A. A. (2016). The Principle of Non-Interference and the Question of Human Rights Violation: The Case of the Rohingya Minority. Asian Journal of Social Sciences and Management Studies, 3(4), 287–292. https://doi.org/10.20448/journal.500/2016.3.4/500.4.287.292


The formation of ASEAN was witnessed by five founding member states promising full cooperation on security and other areas. Within three decades of its establishment, majority of states in the region have joined ASEAN except East Timor. Although the treaty underlines several areas of cooperation, it restrains states from interfering in the domestic affairs of its members. This clause has strictly been observed by all ASEAN states in their cooperation. This traditional norm has affected the Rohingyas, an ethnic Muslim minority in Myanmar, who have been subjected to tyrannous treatment at the hands of Burmese allegedly supported by the national government. As a result, neighbouring states, in particular Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are receiving thousands of refugees from Myanmar, whilst their willingness to engage in resolving the crisis is jeopardised by virtue of non-interference in the internal affairs of other state. Therefore, no strong message has been conveyed to the Myanmar government, while neighbouring states are forced to accommodate thousands of Rohingya refugees. This paper investigates contributing factors that led to the current plight of the Rohingya ethnic minority, the effects of border-crossing movement, and the ASEAN principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of member states. The research concludes by recommending solutions to the crisis and suggesting factors that can shape ASEAN to stand as a true regional organisation.


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