Myanmar defies OIC call to stop atrocities against Rohingya
Myanmar has defied a call by Muslim governments to stop atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, slamming instead Malaysia for hosting a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
At an extraordinary OIC meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, the Malaysian premier called on Myanmar to end its crackdown on Rohingya Muslims and stop the “unspeakable cruelty” against them.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday said it was “regrettable” that Malaysia had called the emergency meeting to discuss the plight of the Rohingya.
The ministry accused Malaysia of exploiting the crisis “to promote a certain political agenda” and disregarding alleged efforts of the Myanmar government to tackle the crisis.
Myanmar’s military began its crackdown in Rakhine State after an attack on the country’s border guards on October 9 left nine police officers dead, which the government blamed on the Rohingya.
There are reports that at least 400 people have been killed, more than 2,500 houses, mosques, and religious schools destroyed, and three villages completely wiped out during the military siege.
The Myanmar government has also blocked humanitarian and media access to Rakhine which is home to about 1.1 million Rohingya.
Rohingya Muslims have been subjected to executions, rape, and arson attacks since October, according to refugees and rights groups.
In its meeting, the OIC which represents 57 countries called on the United Nations to intervene in Rakhine State, where it said the escalation of violence against Rohingya Muslims could lead to “genocide.”
The organization’s special envoy to Myanmar, Syed Hamid Albar, said the world body should act to resolve the conflict, which is no longer an internal issue but an international concern.
“We don’t want to see another genocide like in Cambodia or Rwanda,” he told Reuters. “The international community just observed, and how many people died? We have lessons from the past for us to learn from and see what we can do.”
On Friday, a UN human rights investigator slammed Myanmar’s campaign and called on the military to respect the law and human rights.
Many of Myanmar’s Buddhists name the minority group of Rohingya Muslims as Bengalis, shorthand for illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, even though the community has lived in Myanmar for many generations.
The United Nations has described the Rohingya as one of the most downtrodden communities around the globe.
The prime minister of Muslim-majority Malaysia has been a vocal critic of Myanmar’s government since the country’s army launched a harsh crackdown on the Muslim community in the state of Rakhine,, in October 2016.