Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has warned against the spread of violence against Muslims in Myanmar to neighbouring areas.In his speech at the emergency OIC Contact Group meeting on Rohingya Muslim minority, Ihsanoglu reiterated that the violence against Muslims in Myanmar was unacceptable and should not continue.
“Such violence is a clear indication of the government’s negative approach in dealing with ethnic and religious tensions that erupted last summer,” he said in reference to the outbreak of violence committed by Buddhist extremists against Muslims in Sri Lanka.
Ihsanoglu called on member states of the Contact Group to take action through communication with the international community to implement recommendations of the OIC Islamic Summit held in Makkah, Saudi Gazette reported on Monday.
He also suggested requesting OIC member states which are members in the Contact Group and which have diplomatic missions in Myanmar to use their good offices to put this issue forward, expressing readiness of the OIC to continue coordination and render necessary support to improve the conditions of Muslims in Myanmar until they regain all their legitimate rights.
“Despite our attempts to establish communication with the authorities in Myanmar by selecting a prominent figure from a neighboring country to visit Myanmar and open discussions with officials, the government was not responsive,” Ihsanogle said.
He told Saudi Gazette that the OIC will ask the United Nations Human Rights Council to send a fact-finding mission to investigate all the human rights violations in Myanmar.
Wakar Uddin, Director-General of Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU), the voice of Rohingya for political and human rights in Myanmar, said that they are expecting to draw the attention of Muslim countries and OIC members to the worsening situation in Myanmar and Arakan state.
“This is no longer a Rohingya issue, it’s becoming an Islamic issue because the radical elements in Myanmar are trying to eliminate Islam from the country,” he said.
According to Uddin, among all the refugees around the world, Saudi Arabia is the only country giving residency to over 500,000 Burmese refugees.
Malaysia is also trying to give the Rohingyas a better status as also Pakistan, which has more than 400, 000 refugees. “We’ve some challenges in Bangladesh and we’re working with Indonesia. In Thailand, some of them are in the camps but we’re trying to work it through,” he added. “The most important thing we are trying to reach is basically end the violence.
Myanmar government is very clever in maneuvering. So every time pressure is put on them, they try to say positive things and ease the pressure and things go back to being violent,” Uddin said.
According to reports from the UN, Human Rights Watch and underground Rohingyas, the recent violence which erupted on March 20 has resulted in the burning of 37 mosques, 77 shops, 1474 houses.
Last year at least 180 people were killed in the western state of Rakhine in clashes between local Buddhists and Rohingya – a Muslim minority treated with hostility by most Burmese who see them as illegal Bangladeshi
In March, at least 43 people died in Buddhist-Muslim clashes which broke in central Myanmar.UNB