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Southeast Asian lawmakers urge leaders to act on Rohingya crisis amid exodus of refugees

  • FILE - In this June 25 2014 file photo, Rohingya refugees gather to receive medicine at Dar Paing village clinic, north of Sittwe, Rakhine state, Myanmar. Southeast Asian lawmakers on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, urged their leaders to discuss Myanmar's Rohingya crisis at their upcoming summit in Malaysia, saying it has led to the highest outflow of asylum seekers by sea in the region since the Vietnam War. Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 50 million, is home to an estimated 1.3 million Muslim Rohingya, and most are considered stateless. Though many of their families arrived from Bangladesh generations ago, almost all are denied citizenship by Myanmar as well as Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe, File)

    FILE - In this June 25 2014 file photo, Rohingya refugees gather to receive medicine at Dar Paing village clinic, north of Sittwe, Rakhine state, Myanmar. Southeast Asian lawmakers on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, urged their leaders to discuss Myanmar's Rohingya crisis at their upcoming summit in Malaysia, saying it has led to the highest outflow of asylum seekers by sea in the region since the Vietnam War. Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 50 million, is home to an estimated 1.3 million Muslim Rohingya, and most are considered stateless. Though many of their families arrived from Bangladesh generations ago, almost all are denied citizenship by Myanmar as well as Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 file photo, Myanmar Buddhist monks shout slogans as they march to protest against a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly calling on Myanmar to grant citizenship to Rohingya in Yangon, Myanmar. Southeast Asian lawmakers on Wednesday, April 22, urged their leaders to discuss Myanmar's Rohingya crisis at their upcoming summit in Malaysia, saying it has led to the highest outflow of asylum seekers by sea in the region since the Vietnam War. Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 50 million, is home to an estimated 1.3 million Muslim Rohingya, and most are considered stateless. Though many of their families arrived from Bangladesh generations ago, almost all are denied citizenship by Myanmar as well as Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 file photo, Myanmar Buddhist monks shout slogans as they march to protest against a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly calling on Myanmar to grant citizenship to Rohingya in Yangon, Myanmar. Southeast Asian lawmakers on Wednesday, April 22, urged their leaders to discuss Myanmar's Rohingya crisis at their upcoming summit in Malaysia, saying it has led to the highest outflow of asylum seekers by sea in the region since the Vietnam War. Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 50 million, is home to an estimated 1.3 million Muslim Rohingya, and most are considered stateless. Though many of their families arrived from Bangladesh generations ago, almost all are denied citizenship by Myanmar as well as Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win, File)  (The Associated Press)

Southeast Asian lawmakers are urging their leaders to discuss Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim crisis at their summit in Malaysia this weekend, saying it has led to the highest outflow of asylum seekers by sea in the region since the Vietnam War.

The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, a grouping of regional lawmakers, said Wednesday that the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations must abandon its policy of not interfering in each other's affairs, which has been used as a justification to avoid holding a discussion on the Rohingya issue.

Malaysian lawmaker Charles Santiago said the Rohingya issue is an ASEAN problem due to an exodus of refugees fleeing to countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

He said ASEAN leaders "should not hide behind the notion of non-interference" any longer.