Dhaka,November 23 (Dhaka Tribune): The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) has called for an immediate cessation of violence including torture, rape and summary executions of Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist Myanmar.
Expressing deep concerns over reports of serious human rights violations against innocent Rohingya Muslims since early October, OIC has asked the Myanmar government to ensure that the security services act in full compliance with the law.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the OIC Secretary General, Dr Yousef A Al-Othaimeen, urged the authorities in Myanmar to allow humanitarian aid agencies access to the affected region to provide needed relief to the victims.
“The OIC expresses further its concern that the destruction of homes and mosques has forced tens of thousands to flee their villages and the subsequent blockade in the region has also left many in the area facing acute shortages of food, water and essentials,” the statement says.
Al-Othaimeen further called upon the government to abide by its obligations under international law and human rights covenants and take concrete steps to prevent the further deterioration of the crisis in Rakhine state.
The Myanmar Army and other security forces have reportedly killed several hundred Rohingyas in Rakhine state since last month after Islamist militants allegedly linked to Aqa Mul Mujahidin group and RSO. launched attacks on the border police resulting in the deaths of a dozen law enforcers on October 9.
Since then, thousands of Rohingyas have fled their homes, some of whom entered Bangladesh through Cox’s Bazar but were pushed back.
The United Nation’s refugee agency UNHCR on November 18 urged the Myanmar authorities to ensure the protection and dignity of all civilians on its territory in accordance with the rule of law and its international obligations.
It asked Bangladesh to keep its border with Myanmar open for the Rohingyas. But the government has tightened its border security by deploying more personnel to prevent a further influx of Rohingyas.
Bangladesh Foreign Ministry on Wednesday expressed “tremendous concern” over the ongoing persecution of Rohingya Muslims. However, the Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh, Myo Myint Than, who was summoned by the ministry, claimed that the reports of atrocities against the Rohingyas were fabricated.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Tuesday said that the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and the Coast Guard had been alerted to prevent the illegal entry of Rohingyas.
“Rohingya migration is an uncomfortable issue for Bangladesh. Hopefully, no more illegal migration will happen now,” Kamal said.
Suu Kyi Wants Bangladeshi Help
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Myanmar State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi discussed the matter during a meeting in New York in September this year.
“At the meeting, Suu Kyi sought help of Bangladesh to solve the Rohingya issue. She also informed the Prime Minister about the commission, led by former UN chief Kofi Annan, her country has formed to look into the crisis,” Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque said.
“The Premier told Suu Kyi that the matter should be solved by the two countries together,” the secretary said.
The Rohingya are considered by many in Myanmar to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and most do not have citizenship. They are prevented from moving freely and have their access to basic services restricted.
Suu Kyi, who is constitutionally barred from being President but leads the government as State Counsellor and Foreign Minister, had announced the setting up of a nine-member commission, made up of six Myanmar citizens and three foreigners, to advise her government on the Rohingya issue.
Suu Kyi has been criticized for doing too little to address the plight of the Rohingya minorities. Myanmar law does not recognize the Rohingya as one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups, making them stateless.