Urge Govt of Myanmar to take concrete steps towards their earliest implementation of Rakhine Advisory Commission
ASTANA: Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held a meeting to discuss the current developments of the situation of the Muslim Rohingya community in Myanmar, on the sidelines of the 1st OIC Summit of Science and Technology in Astana, under the chairmanship of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey.
The Meeting condemned and expressed deep concern over the recent systematic brutal acts perpetrated by security forces against the Rohingya Muslim Community in Myanmar, which constitute a serious and blatant violation of international law, and which have affected, since October 2016, over 270,000 Muslims who have been forcibly displaced to Bangladesh, in addition to the burning of their houses and places of worship.
The Meeting called upon the Government of Myanmar to accept the UN Human Rights Council’s fact finding mission to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into all alleged violations of international human rights law and to bring the perpetrators to justice. Delegates urged the Government of Myanmar to honour its obligations under international law and human rights covenants, and to take all measures to immediately halt acts of dispersion and discriminatory practices against Rohingya Muslims, as well as the continuous attempts to obliterate their Islamic culture and identity, including delisting them from household lists and demolition of places of worship, institutions and houses of Muslim minorities.
They urged the Government of Myanmar to eliminate the root causes, including the denial of citizenship based on the 1982 Citizenship Act which has led to statelessness and deprival of the rights of the Rohingya Muslim Minority, and to continued dispossession and discrimination against them, and urged it to work towards a just and sustainable solution to this issue. And asked the Government of Myanmar to take urgent measures for a sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and internally and externally displaced Rohingya Muslims to their homeland, Rakhine State, in safety, security, dignity and with ensured livelihood.
The Meeting reiterated its call to the Government of Myanmar to revive the agreement to open an OIC Office for humanitarian affairs in Yangon after signing a Memorandum of Cooperation with the OIC to that effect. The purpose of the OIC office was to provide pure humanitarian assistance without distinction between the victims of violence.
The Meeting further asked the authorities of Myanmar to take concrete steps to prevent the further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Rakhine State and to ensure the right of each individual to live and move without fear and persecution based on their religion or ethnicity.
The recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission headed by Kofi Annan, and urged the Government of Myanmar to take concrete steps towards their earliest implementation. The Meeting called on Member States to provide support for the implementation of these recommendations with a view to finding a comprehensive and inclusive solution to the challenges in Rakhine State.
OIC Member States were invited to join the efforts of the international community towards lifting all restrictions on freedom of movement in Rakhine State and ensuring an inclusive and transparent citizenship verification process that leaves no individual unregistered nor hinders their access to essential social services, including education and health care.
Meeting expressed concerns over the huge Rohingya influx towards Bangladesh and its humanitarian and security consequences for the Government of Bangladesh. Hence expressed appreciation for the immediate action taken by Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for delivering humanitarian aid to the camps in Bangladesh and its offer of support to this country. The Meeting urged all member states to extend the necessary support to Bangladesh to enable it to face the flow of refugees into its territories.
It also acknowledged the efforts by Member States which had provided humanitarian and development assistance for the Rohingya people and encouraged all States to formulate development projects that will provide education, health services and vocational training that will benefit all persons in Rakhine State, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Meeting called upon OIC Member States and the international community to continue their efforts in conjunction with those of the United Nations to ensure the return of all Myanmar refugees displaced from their homes in Rakhine (Arakan).
It also called upon the international community to continue working with the Government of Myanmar to protect Muslim minorities in its territories. Delegates supported expansive interfaith dialogue efforts and encouraged the Myanmar government to support ground-up initiatives to promote inter-ethnic and communal harmony They noted that infrastructure development assistance and community engagement would be more effective in bringing peace in the affected areas. In this regard, IDB and ISF should take a more active role in this area. In that regard, the Meeting agreed to continue efforts to coordinate and dispatch humanitarian life-saving aid especially medical and nutrition supply to the affected areas in Myanmar. In addition, the Meeting urged all States to continue to extend all possible forms of humanitarian aid and assistance to Muslims in Myanmar, and particularly to IDPs and the refugees living outside their homeland. This includes raising funds for humanitarian relief. At the end meeting expressed profound appreciation and thanks to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey, for taking the initiative of convening this timely gathering, as well as to Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Republic of Kazakhstan for his gracious hosting and support.
Author is senior editor at Media Hub International Dubai.