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The humanitarian crisis afflicting Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya has damaged the country's political stability and shattered its image as a country moving toward democracy. Moreover, it has tarnished the reputation of the government's de facto leader, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi; called into question the crisis-management credentials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations; and made a mockery of international institutions for conflict prevention.Similarly, China's government has supported Myanmar's efforts to protect its national security.This tangled web of interests, coupled with the government's failure, means that responsibility for protecting all of Myanmar's people now falls to ASEAN or the U.N.According to U.N. figures, at the end of September some 700,000 Rohingya refugees had crossed into Bangladesh, with more than half arriving since late August. And Myanmar's military has mined the border with Bangladesh to stop them from returning.Assuming that the issues of violence and refugees can be addressed, Myanmar must grant international humanitarian access to the affected regions.ASEAN could also coordinate with the U.N. in managing emergency personnel.Myanmar's government must undertake – or permit ASEAN or the U.N. to do so on its behalf – an independent and impartial investigation into the killings, identify the perpetrators, and subject them to transparent and credible prosecution.
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