Turkey,OIC call for protection for Myanmar Muslims
Turkey and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) are raising major concerns about the continuing violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, calling on the international community to end its silence on the humanitarian situation affecting the Southeast Asian country.
16 Temmuz 2012 Pazartesi - 10:37
Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the secretary-general of the OIC has condemned the violence in the country in letters to Myanmar President Thein Sein and Nobel laureate opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, calling for an end to the situation. The leader of Rohingya Muslims in the country is expected to visit OIC headquarters in Myanmar for talks with the secretary-general and other OIC authorities.
Also, the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs has called on international organizations, especially the UN, not to remain silent about the violence against Rohingya Muslims in the country.
A statement by the directorate said that more than 1,000 Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar were killed and more than 90,000 were left homeless. The statement stressed that such inhumane practices in the country must end as soon as possible, noting that international organizations such as the UN must say “stop” to that violent situation.
According to official statistics, four percent of the country's population of 75 million is Muslim, with the country comprising a significant Buddhist majority. Rohingya Muslims are not seen as genuine Myanmar citizens by nationalist Myanmar leaders, officials and fanatic Buddhists and in turn are exposed to discrimination.
A total of one million of the Muslim population lives in Arakan province, the location of the recent escalating violence in the country, near Bangladesh. The first glimmer of violence appeared in June after claims that three Rohingya Muslims raped a Buddhist woman. After the event, fanatic Buddhists started the killing of Muslims living in Arakan province, and also burned houses and workplaces belonging to the minority group. While tens of thousands of Muslims fled to refugee camps due to the violence, Bangladeshi authorities did not accept allow the Rohingyans waiting at the border gates to seek refuge in their country.
In another effort to mobilize international opposition to the situation, İhsanoğlu discussed the situation with Chinese authorities, pleading with them to closely follow the situation and take up an initiative, during a visit to China in June. China has close relations with its southern neighbor Myanmar. İhsanoğlu also requested that the international community review a decision to remove sanctions on the country, during talks with the US and EU countries and international organizations such as United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and International Labor Organization (ILO) looking into the humanitarian situation.
Meanwhile, the UAE supported the OIC's call for international action to protect Muslims in Myanmar and to prevent their killing and displacement. İhsanoğlu and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed organizing an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council during a telephone conversation on Friday.
Additionally, Slimane Chikh, permanent OIC representative at the UN's Geneva office, drew attention to the situation of Muslims in Myanmar during the 20th session of the UN Human Rights Council in June. Also, Zamir Akram, Coordinator of the OIC Group on Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues sent a letter to Myanmar's UN representative asking him to visit the restive country to analyze the situation.