Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul-Gheit called on the Myanmar authorities to take their responsibilities in halting abuses and persecution against the Rohingya Muslim minority as soon as possible.
Mahmoud Afifi, spokesperson of the league’s secretary-general, denounced in a statement Wednesday the rise of violence against Muslims in the majority Buddhist state He called on the Myanmar authorities to investigate the abuses perpetrated and punish those responsible for the tragedy. He further called for improving life conditions of Muslims, pointing out to the good ties that link Myanmar with most Arab states.
The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim group live in the state of Rakhine. They speak Rohingya or Ruaingga, and they have been denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982. Myanmar, formerly named Burma, is a state where there is a Buddhist majority.
Lately, the operations of the Myanmar army over the Rakhine state in southwestern Myanmar resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Rohingya people and to the burning of more than 2,600 homes. The operations also resulted in tens of thousands Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh, escaping from what was described as “hell”.
Aboul-Gheit added that “the reports and news about this matter, including the United Nations’ reports and the independent international committees, caused a deep concern and denouncement among Arab people and the public opinion in the region, which is considered a main part of the Muslim world.”
Due to the large scale persecution through ethnic cleansing and genocidal action against them, about 1.5 million Rohingyas are forced to leave their home since Burmese independence in 1948, according to the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO).
ARNO added that the “present distribution of the Rohingya population is 2 million inside Myanmar, 600,000 in Bangladesh, 350,000 in Pakistan, 400,000 in Saudi Arabia, and 100,000 in the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, and Malaysia.”
Meanwhile, several campaigns demanded the Swedish Academy to withdraw the Nobel Peace Prize from State Myanmarian Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi as she denies the abuses against Rohingya.
Suu Kyi told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a phone call on Tuesday that “his deputy prime minister was subjected to a lot of fake news photographs taken elsewhere in the world and not in Myanmar.” She said she believes these “fake photographs … aim to promote the interest of the terrorists.”
She also added that “the government has already started defending all the people in Rakhine in the best way possible,” the statement said.
Following talks, the Turkish presidency announced that Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) will be the first foreign body to provide aid to Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state.
“At the initial stage, emergency relief packages, which consist of the people’s basic foodstuff—rice, dried fish, and clothing, will be provided to the Rohingyas,” according to the statement published on TIKA.