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OIC urges UN chief to ‘do more’ to curb anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 11, 2013

UNITED NATIONS, July 11 (APP): Representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have urged United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN member states to do more to persuade the Government of Myanmar to stem the tide of violence against Muslims in that South East Asian country. Authorities in the South-east Asian country had so far failed to end what amounted to genocide against Muslims, said Roble Olhaye, OIC Chairman and Permanent Representative of Djibouti to the United Nations. Expressing deep concern over the intolerable and unacceptable violence that had left some 130,000 Muslims displaced and living in pitiful conditions, he said it was the Myanmar Government’s responsibility to protect its people, no matter their background or religion.
Ambassador Abdallah Yahya Al-Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of SaudiArabia, joined Ambassador Olhaye in stressing that the anti-Muslim violence was occurring at a time when Myanmar was enjoying improved diplomatic relations with the rest of the world, and its democratic progress was attracting significant attention.
Despite that progress, however, the Government cannot be allowed to turn a blind eye to egregious violations of human rights against one people, Olhaye emphasized.
He said he had just returned from a meeting with the Secretary-General andhis Special Adviser on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, and had asked them to take a more forceful position in calling on the Myanmar Government to shoulder its responsibility for ending the violence.
Myanmar is having a honeymoon with the world, Al-Mouallimi said, adding,however, that the honeymoon was being built on the bodies of Muslim victims throughout the country. The world could not be swept up by democratic progress in Myanmar if it did not include full rights for Muslims.
The atrocities went beyond the persecuted Rohingya people to affect Muslimsthroughout the country, he said, adding that “we cannot accept that what is happening represents the great Buddhist people”.
It was incumbent upon the Government of Myanmar to protect Muslims and to ensure their right to work, to live safely and to perform their religious rites.
Echoing the call on the Secretary-General to make his voice heard more loudly on the issue, the Saudi ambassador emphasized:  “We have no intentions of standing on the side and watching this process take place without any action”.
He called upon powerful actors, including the United States, the European Union and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), to exercise their influence and ensure that ethnic cleansing in Myanmar was put to an immediate end.
Several waves of clashes between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, the first of which occurred in June 2012, have affected hundreds of thousands of families, mostly Muslims, in the country’s western region. Some 140,000 people, mostly Rohingya, remain displaced in Rakhine and tens of thousands of others have fled by boat.
Asked what more the United Nations system could do to prevent violence in Myanmar, Olhaye replied that the United Nations is part and parcel of the international community that is helping in the reform and democratization process in that country.
As the conscience of the world, the Organization must speak out more loudly in exerting pressure on the Government to stop the violence. There is a lot more that the Secretary-General and the United Nations can do, Al-Mouallimi added, calling, in particular, for efforts to engage personally with the President of Myanmar.
Asked what more the ‘Group of Friends on Myanmar’ could do to end the violence, he said there had so far been a failure to reach agreement on a Human Rights Council resolution condemning the atrocities against Myanmar’s Muslims.
Recalling that his country had joined the consensus in 2012, when the General Assembly had voted to recognize democratic developments in Myanmar, he said it had done so on the understanding that sufficient recognition would be given to the plight of Muslims there.
“We are still waiting,” he said. Indeed, it was not enough to insist on the basic structures of democracy; ending killings and persecution was a far more basic requirement of democracy.
When asked about the type of support that the OIC intended to provide to Muslims in Myanmar, Al-Mouallimi said it had offered to send a humanitarian team and to provide assistance to the victims, but those offers had been rejected by the Government. He called on the international community to ensure that such efforts were better received in the future.
Asked specifically about the Security Council’s inaction on the situation, Olhaye said the OIC’s next stop would be a meeting with Council members that would take place very soon. “We shall see, face-to-face, what will transpire out of those discussions”.
Source: APP

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OIC urges UN to help Myanmar Muslims

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 11, 2013

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called on the UN to make more efforts to end the tyranny that Muslims are facing in Myanmar.

During a Wednesday meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, OIC envoys said that the UN should put pressure on Myanmar’s government to resolve problems the Rohingya Muslim community is facing in the country. 

“Myanmar is having a honeymoon with the world. The only problem is that that honeymoon is being built on the bodies of the Muslim victims in that country,” said Saudi ambassador to the UN Abdullah al-Mouallemi. 

Hundreds of Rohingyas have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by extremist Buddhists in Myanmar over the past year. 

Roble Olhaye, Djibouti’s UN ambassador and head of the OIC group at the UN, described the anti-Muslim attacks in the country as “ethnic cleansing.”

“The Myanmar authorities are failing to take the necessary measures to stem the violence,” he added at a press conference with Mouallemi.

“What we need from the UN is to have its voice heard loud and clear, being the conscience of the world,” Olhaye said. 

The Saudi envoy to the UN also stated that the UN chief had pledged to do more in defending the rights of Rohingya Muslims. “There is a lot more that the UN can and should do,” Mouallemi said. 

“We called on the secretary general to interfere to make his voice heard more loudly.” 

“The most basic human rights and human values are being stepped upon by the current government and by the radical elements within Myanmar,” Mouallemi added.

“There has to be an end to the killing, that is much more basic, there has to be an end to the persecution, to the tyranny that this population is facing,” he said. 

The Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar accounts for about five percent of the country’s population of nearly 60 million. The persecuted minority has faced torture, neglect, and repression since Myanmar’s independence in 1948. 

Thousands of Rohingyas in the western state of Rakhine are deprived of citizenship rights, becoming vulnerable to acts of violence, expulsion, and displacement. 

Source: Press TV

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Ihsanoglu Tasks Myanmar’s Government On Responsibility To Eradicate Discrimination Against Muslims

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 9, 2013

07/07/2013 |  The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, tasked the Government of Myanmar to assume its responsibility to eradicate all forms of discrimination against Muslims and not allow Buddhist extremists to incite against any section of the community. He noted that this discrimination includes the 2005 law which imposes on all Rohingya Muslim families the policy limiting them to only two children in Buthidaung and Maundaw cities in Arakan State. He described this law a violation of all human rights standards. 

In his speech to the Arakan Rohingya Union Congress held at the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah from 7 – 8 July 2013 and read on his behalf by the Director of Muslim Minorities in the OIC, Talal Daous, the Secretary General stated that the violence targeted at Rohingya Muslims last June led to killings and destruction of properties and created thousands of refugees and displaced persons. He asserted that this type of violence should not continue and that it is the responsibility of the authorities to address the root causes of the issue and protect peoples’ lives and properties in Myanmar. 

Ihsanoglu explained that the OIC continues to support and participate in all national, regional and international efforts and initiatives geared towards finding peaceful and lasting solution to the problems in Myanmar. It also supports the return of refugees and the restoration of the rights and privileges they have been denied by the authorities. In this regard, the Secretary General expressed its gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz who supported the Rohingya minorities, gave them a generous welcome and granted them the opportunity to live and work in Saudi Arabia. This year has already been marked by an important event of official issuance of residence permits to Rohingya refugees. 

Ihsanoglu remarked that today’s meeting is the second for the Union since it was inaugurated at the OIC General Secretariat on 30 May 2011. The Arakan Rohingya Union was established on the basis agreed upon principles o achieve peaceful coexistence, democracy and human rights. OIC Member States has supported the establishment of the Union in Resolution No. 4/38-MM adopted by the 38th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers held in Astana. 

The Secretary General stated that the Arakan Rohingya Union had in the last two years made tremendous progress considering the various challenges it faces and the dearth of resources. He stressed that the Arakan Rohingya Union plays its role as the legitimate representative of the Rohingya people across the world, defends their cause and improves their conditions in Myanmar, and helps to find a lasting solution to their suffering.

Source: OIC

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OIC conference on Rohingyas in Jeddah next week

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 5, 2013

Arab News, Friday 5 July 2013 | The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold on July 7 and 8 the Arakan Rohingya Union Conference at its headquarters in Jeddah.

The charter of the Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU) will be submitted to the members for discussion in preparation for its adoption.

The agenda of the conference will also include introduction of the current and new members of the union, which was established by the OIC in May 2011 to unite the Rohingya refugees around the world.

Waqarudin, director general of the first session of the union, will present his report on ARU’s achievements. The conference will look into the strategy and action plan of the union in the next session, in addition to electing officials and the formation of the Supreme Council, the committees and advisory board.

In a letter sent through his special envoy, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told Myanmar President Thein Sein that the organization, on behalf of the 57 heads of the member states, is ready to assist in reaching a long-term solution to problems of Muslims in Myanmar.

Special envoy Talal Daous, director of minorities department at the OIC, accompanied by Hassan Abdin, delivered the letter last week.

In the letter, the secretary-general said the OIC is ready to assist in any way to reach a long-term solution for the existing and emerging problems of all Muslims in Myanmar, who deserve nothing less than the basic rights accorded to any citizen of Myanmar, including access to urgent humanitarian assistance.

The special envoy delivered the letter to Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin and during the meeting discussions focused on the importance of the secretary-general’s visit to Myanmar and the Contact Group on Myanmar.

“We believe that a long-term solution to the problems of the Rohingya Muslims can only be found through the restoration of their legal status and the recognition of their birth right, including citizenship,” said Ihsanoglu.

He said the targeting of Muslims in central Myanmar during the last week of March and last week of April has been a particularly worrying development for the reason that unlike the Rohingya Muslims, the recent events involved Muslims who are integrated in the Myanmarese society with full citizenship rights in areas outside the Rakhine region.

“We are concerned that what was once considered as a case of inter-communal violence confined to one part of Myanmar now has the danger of spreading throughout the country,” Ihsanoglu said.

The OIC chief said that with the cooperation of the authorities in Myanmar, OIC member states would be willing to establish a collaborative mechanism with Myanmar to provide economic and humanitarian assistance to all those in need, confidence building between communities, interfaith dialogue and technical expertise to assist Myanmar in its democratic transition and integration into the international community.

Source: Arab News

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OIC Delegation Concludes Its Visit Of Observation In Myanmar

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on September 19, 2012



17/09/2012 | The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu dispatched a high level delegation led by Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen, OIC Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, to Myanmar following the eruption of violence against the Muslim Rohinga community and taking into consideration their long-standing plight. In doing so, the Secretary General was guided by the directives of the 4th Extraordinary Islamic Summit held in Makkah Al Mukarrama on 14-15 August, 2012.

The mandate of the mission that took place from 5-15 Sept 2012 was to:
a) To make preliminary observations as to the root causes of the problem and the effect of the violence that took place in the Rakhine State.
b) Explore the conditions and various aspects of a prospective visit by the OIC Secretary General.
c) To make the necessary contacts regarding the ways and means for the OIC to carry out humanitarian assistance and relief operations in the Rakhine State.

The delegation had extensive contacts with the Union and Rakhine State authorities regarding the ways and means for the OIC and Myanmar Government to create a long-term engagement and cooperation in order to encourage taking constructive steps towards rehabilitation and inter-communal reconciliation.

The OIC delegation was received in the capital city Nay Pyi Taw by the Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Borders Affairs and Interior and Social Affairs and in Sitwee met with the Union Minister of Borders Affairs once more in the presence of the Chief Minister of Rakhine State. The delegation had extensive discussions with regard to the concerns of OIC member states with a view to facilitate bringing sustainable and permanent solutions to the current issues in the context of democratization, reform and development process already underway in the country. Ensuring rule of law, inter- communal cohabitation and enjoyment of basic welfare and fundamental human rights by all groups and respect for cultural, ethnic and religious identities and values in the Rakhine State were highlighted by the OIC delegation as the basic expectations of OIC member states.

The OIC delegation signed on 11th September 2012 in Nay Pyi Taw, a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Ministry of Borders Affairs to implement a humanitarian program for the benefit of all communities living in the State of Rakhine. Within the framework of the MoC, the OIC will establish a coordination and monitoring presence in Yangon and Sitwee under the assistance of the Union and local authorities to conduct humanitarian activities.

The OIC delegation also briefed the Ambassadors of the OIC Member States and met with Mr. Vijay Nambiar, the Special Advisor of the UNSG for Myanmar as well as representatives of some international governmental and non-governmental agencies.

The proceedings outlined above will allow for productive cooperation between the Government of the Union of Myanmar and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for which we thank the Myanmar authorities. Yet the problem ought not to be dealt with solely from a humanitarian aspect.

Members of the OIC delegation left Yangon on 15th September 2012.

Source: OIC 



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OIC Human Rights Commission finalizes its Rules of Procedure The Commission focused on Human Rights in Palestine, Syria, Mali and of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on September 10, 2012

30/08/2012 | OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) concluded its Second Session in Ankara today, Friday, 31 August 2012. The 5-day Session was chaired by Ms. Siti Ruhani Dzuhayatin. The Commission, most importantly, finalized rules of procedure in accordance with the timeline stipulated by the Statute and in time for onward transmission to OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) for endorsement.

The Commission focused on the human rights aspects of situations in Palestine, Syria, Mali and that of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. The Commission strongly condemned the continuing human rights violations perpetrated by Israel, being the occupying power, in Palestine and other Arab territories, with particular reference to the policy of settlements in terms of its implications towards the whole range of human rights of the Palestinian people as well as international efforts towards durable peace in the Middle East.

The Commission expressed serious and grave concern at the reported human rights violations, committed by both sides in the ongoing crisis in Syria, the Commission emphasized the primarily responsibility of the state to maintain law and order and called for a humanitarian pause in the armed conflict with a view to making a needs assessment. The Commission expressed grave concern at the reported human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. The Commission also decided to send a fact-finding mission for an on ground assessment of the situation of Rohingya Muslims and requested the Chairperson to contact the government of Myanmar to that end. The Commission expressed concern at human rights violations perpetrated by terrorist groups against unarmed civilians in Mali and the destruction of sites classified by UNESCO as world cultural heritage. The Commission emphasized the importance and need for concerted efforts by the international community towards finding political solutions to the situations in Syria, Mali and that of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar with particular reference to an early repatriation of refugees in the neighboring countries.

In terms of the priorities identified at the First Session in Jakarta, the Commission focused on rights of Women and the Child as well as Right to Development (RtD) and set up a working group to come up with approaches towards addressing these rights with a view to providing advisory opinion for the benefit of the Member States. The Commission also set up a working group with a view to advising the Member States on ways and means to combat Islamophobia and incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds, within the human rights framework. The Commission emphasized the importance of research and studies on themes of human rights significance with a view to furnishing informed advisory to Member States.

The 18 member Commission constitutes the first body of independent experts in the four decade long history of OIC.

Source: OIC Secretariat




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OIC sends letter to Myanmar President Sein

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 26, 2012

25 July 2012 | Secretary General of OIC asked Sein to provide security for the Rohingya Muslims


The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on Wednesday sent a letter to the President of Myanmar, Thein Sein and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and asked for their assistance in ending violence against Rohingya Muslims.

In a statement released, the OIC said that Ihsanoglu’s letter to Sein was written so that pressure against the Muslims in Myanmar ended.
Ihsanoglu asked Sein to provide security for the Rohingya Muslims.

Ihsanoglu called on Sein to facilitate speedy investigation on the attacks on Rohingya Muslims and to try those responsible for the attacks in courts of law.

“The OIC is ready to provide any assistance to Myanmar in this regard,” Ihsanoglu stressed in his letter to President Sein.

In his letter to Ban Ki-moon, Ihsanoglu requested from Ban to use his office to be more influential on the government of Myanmar. “The OIC is ready to provide any assistance that may be needed by the United Nations,” Ihsanoglu underlined in his letter to Ban. 

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OIC condemns violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 26, 2012


14 July 2012 | 

The secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called on the international community not to be indifferent to violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

OIC officials said that Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu condemned violence that has been continued against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar for a while, sending letters to Myanmar president Thein Sein as well as opposition leader Suu Kyi.

Ihsanoglu said in his letter that democratic rights of Rohingya Muslims should be preserved and violence against them must be stopped.

Source: Anadolu Agency





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Human rights groups call for help for Myanmar Muslims

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 26, 2012

24 July 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN 

Human rights groups that gathered in Ankara on Tuesday to devise a common roadmap to raise public awareness about the state of Myanmar Muslims have strongly condemned the continuing killing and discrimination against Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar.

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




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