Tuesday, 16th September 2014

Myanmar urged to stop violence against rohingya muslims

Rabu, 25 Juli 2012 23:05 WIB | 1.556 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has drawn serious attention from many parties including ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan and the Muslim organizations in Indonesia.

In an effort to get the first-hand information, Surin Pitsuwan expected a detailed explanation from the Myanmar government on the bloody conflict involving Myanmar`s Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists ethnic group.

"I expect there would be an explanation by the Myanmar government on this issue which has become a major concern," said Surin here on Wednesday.

According to him, the conflict in Rakhine State could disrupt the harmony of ASEAN member countries. Therefore, in order to create an ASEAN Community by 2015, the conflict must be resolved immediately, he said.

"We also have to seek support (from the international community) to understand the issue thoroughly. We also need to find who are behind this," Surin pointed out.

Rohingya Muslims have been facing discrimination for a long time. The United Nations has even classified them as one of the most persecuted ethnic communities in the world.

ASEAN seeks to gather information and data about the conflict from a number of parties, such as the UN refugee agency UNHCR and Myanmar`s neighboring countries.

Citizenship status of the Rohingya community is still unclear because the Myanmar government considers them to be illegal immigrants.

The international human rights group, Amnesty International, reported that the Rohingya minority became the main target when riots broke out and continued to experience human rights violations.

The group also said that the security forces, including police and soldiers, have detained hundreds of Rohingyas.

A state of emergency has been imposed in Rakhine since June after clashes erupted between Buddhists and Muslims.

It was reported that Myanmar President Thein Sein said early this month that the ethnic clashes could be ended by sending the Rohingnya to a third country or a UNHCR camp.

On Tuesday, the Indonesian House Speaker Marzuki Alie condemned the killings of Muslim Rohingya ethnic group members in Myanmar and urged countries to take a stance against that country`s military junta responsible for the incident.

"The systemic killings of the Rohingya by Myanmar`s military junta is a very concerning humanitarian tragedy that can be categorized as a serious human rights violation and a crime against humanity and specifically leads to a genocide," he told the press here on Tuesday.

In view of that, he said Indonesia as a country that honors human rights and an ASEAN chairman must be pro-active and give a strong reprimand to Myanmar and urge that country to respect human rights and settle the conflict by giving the Rohingya right to live and citizenship like that for other ethnic groups.

"The UN must also be active in responding to the Rohingya case in humanitarian as well as political terms. With regard to humanitarian problems anticipation must be made to deal with refugee problem," he said.

He also said the UN must urge Myanmar to respect human rights as killings or ousting of the Rohingya from country is uncivilized.

"This is also a serious problem that the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) must respond. There must be concrete steps to protect the Rohingya so that they would not become a target of the ethnic majority and the military junta," he said.

Marzuki said the OIC must urge the UN to give a strong sanction to Myanmar. "The Myanmarese leader could be taken to the International Criminal Court on charges of committing systematic genocide on the Rohingya," he said.

According to him, the Rohingya case is also a test for Muslims now conducting the fast.

"Let us pray and extend our help to our Rohingya Muslim brothers who are suffering a test so that they remain strong," he said.

Regarding ASEAN, Marzuki Alie said Myanmar must be reminded of its commitment to democracy not only in procedural terms by allowing opposition figure Aung San Su Kyi to follow the general elections but also in substantial terms especially with regard to the Rohingya`s right to live.

He said the House of Representatives especially the Commission I must be pro-active in responding to the issue and urge the Indonesian government to play its strategic role in ASEAN as the Rohingya problem has already become ASEAN and international issues.

In the meantime, the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) has also condemned the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan (Rakhine), Myanmar.

"MUI also criticized the Myanmar government for not stopping the genocide against the Rohingya Muslims," MUI Chairman Ma`ruf Amin said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

"Around 6,000 Rohingya Muslims were killed in Arkan. This is a gross violation of human rights and a crime against humanity," he added.

Ma`ruf expressed disapproval of Myanmar President Thein Sein`s recent statement that the Rohingya Muslims did not belong to Myanmar because they were illegal immigrants.

"This is contrary to history because Rohingya Muslims had been living in Arakan long before Burma became Myanmar, which achieved independence from Britain in 1948," he pointed out.

Ma`ruf urged the Indonesian people to push the government to make efforts to stop the violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

"All Muslims in the world are brothers and sisters, so we must help the Rohingya Muslims who are being treated unjustly in Myanmar," he said.

MUI had earlier called on the United Nations to take steps to stop the human rights violation against the Muslims in Myanmar.

"It`s very regretful that the UN Security Council has not sent any peacekeeping forces yet to protect the Rohingya Muslims," Ma`ruf stated.

Apart from that, Muhammadiyah, one of the largest Muslim organizations in Indonesia has called on the Myanmar government to put an end to the violence against Rohingya Muslims in the country.

"The persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is a gross violation of human rights. If such actions continue, Myanmar`s efforts during the past years to become more democratic will be ruined," Muhammadiyah Secretary Abdul Mu`ti said here on Wednesday.

"The Myanmar government`s statement that the Rohingyas are not citizens but illegal immigrants has no legal base because they have been living in Myanmar for a very long time," Abdul said.

Rohingya Muslims have been facing discrimination for a long time.

A riot happened last month in Rakhine state, Myanmar, between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. Both groups claimed that they were attacked first and then they retaliated. About 80 casualties have been reported so far and thousands of people have lost their homes, while many Rohingya Muslims have been arrested.

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in her first ever speech to the country`s fledgling parliament on Wednesday, called for laws to protect the rights of ethnic minorities.

Abdul Mu`ti also urged the Myanmar government to recognize Rohingya Muslims as citizens of the country. (*)