OIC expresses ‘grave concern' for Rohingyas, urges Muslim world to help
by Compiled from Wire Services
ISTANBULJan 21, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Compiled from Wire Services
Jan 21, 2017 12:00 am
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday said it had "grave concerns" about the violence in Rakhine state that has killed and displaced thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
In a final communique issued after a meeting regarding the plight of the Muslim minority Rohingya community, OIC foreign ministers urged Myanmar to take decisive steps to restore calm in affected areas and protect the vulnerable group. "The Government of Myanmar should ensure that the security forces act in accordance with the rule of law and that all perpetrators of acts of violence be held accountable," it said.
It also said the government should abide by international and humanitarian law and covenants, and work to stop violence and discrimination against the Rohingya minority as attempts to deny the group its culture and identity continues.
While renewing its call for the restoration of citizenships to Rohingya that were revoked in 1982, the OIC pushed Myanmar to work to eliminate the "root causes affecting the Rohingya Muslim Minority" while urging the international community to support affected communities with humanitarian aid.
Since October, Malaysia has criticized Myanmar's government and military over ongoing violence in Rakhine -- which some officials have called an "ethnic cleansing" -- canceling two football matches scheduled to take place in Myanmar in January and requesting an immediate appointment with Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.
Malaysia on Thursday urged an organization of Islamic nations to help end the persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority, while Indonesia offered to be a facilitator to find a solution to the crisis. Prime Minister Najib Razak told the opening of a special meeting of foreign ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that the violence against Rohingya, which has galvanized Muslims in Southeast Asia, was no longer Myanmar's internal affair as it has fueled an exodus of refugees that could destabilize the region. He warned that the violence must end otherwise militants including the Islamic State group could infiltrate and radicalize the Rohingya.
"OIC member states are well aware that terrorist organizations such as Daesh could seek to take advantage of this situation," Najib said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
Security forces in Buddhist-majority Myanmar are accused of widespread abuses against the Rohingya, including killings, rape and the burning of thousands of homes that have driven an estimated 65,000 refugees across the border into Bangladesh in the past three months.
Myanmar's army began the latest crackdown in Rakhine state in October after nine policemen were killed along the border with Bangladesh. The government and the army have rejected accusations of abuse, saying they have been conducting operations to clear the area of armed elements.
In Myanmar, Rohingyas face fundamental rights abuses. Myanmar's nationality law, approved in 1982, denies Rohingya citizenship. According to the law, foreigners cannot become naturalized citizens of Myanmar unless they can prove a close familial connection to the country.
Rohingyas are not recognized among the 134 official ethnicities in Myanmar because authorities see them as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. They are subjected to forced labor, have no land rights and are heavily restricted by the government. They have no permission to leave the camps built for them, have no source of income and have to rely on the World Food Program to survive.