24 July 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN
Inter-communal violence continues unabated in western Myanmar six weeks after the government declared a state of emergency there, and Muslim Rohingyas are increasingly being hit with targeted attacks that have included killings, rape and physical abuse, Amnesty International said.
Both security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists face accusations of carrying out attacks against Rohingyas, who are not welcomed and are seen as foreigners by the ethnic majority and denied citizenship by the government because it considers them illegal settlers from neighboring Bangladesh.
Led by the Civil Servants’ Trade Union (Memur-Sen), the Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions (Hak-İş) and the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUMDER), several human rights group representatives attended the meeting in Ankara to condemn the escalating atrocities against Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar.
Noting that the international community has recently started to pay attention to what is going on in Myanmar, Memur-Sen head Ahmet Gündoğdu said they should do whatever is necessary to help Myanmar Muslims. The union has donated TL 100,000 to the aid campaign, he said.
The problem has been a key issue that has dominated Myanmar politics for more than a century and has come under the international spotlight with the mass killings of Rohingyas, a Muslim minority of South Asian descent, in recent months.
After a series of isolated killings starting late in May that left victims on both sides, bloody skirmishes quickly spread across much of Myanmar’s coastal Rakhine state. The government declared a state of emergency on June 10, deploying troops to quell the unrest and protect both mosques and monasteries. Authorities said at least 78 people were killed and thousands of homes were burned down or destroyed — with the damage split evenly between Buddhists and Muslims.
In the meantime, the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has recently called on the international community not to be indifferent to violence against Myanmar Muslims. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu condemned the violence that is crushing the Rohingya Muslims and sent letters to Myanmar President Thein Sein as well as opposition leader Suu Kyi to take action regarding the case.
In a press statement, Gündoğdu stated that Muslim Rohingyas have been subjected to systematic massacre and rape by ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and security forces.
“According to estimates from international agencies, thousands of Muslim Rohingyas lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of them have been forced to leave their land. After the state of emergency was declared where the events were taking play, security forces have detained hundreds of Rohingyas and reportedly tortured them. Reports of murders, burning of houses, rapes and displacement continue to come from the region,” he said.
Gündoğdu has urged the UN Security Council, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), OIC, the EU, the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Turkey to take bold steps to end the human tragedy happening there.
In line with Gündoğdu, MAZLUMDER head Ahmet Faruk Ünsal noted that there is an ongoing ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine region. He pointed out that Muslim Rohingyas are local people of the region, not foreigners.
Source: Today’s Zaman