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پیر، 30 جولائی، 2012

Rohingya Muslims Persecution

 Muslims in the South East Asian nation of Myanmar presently under the international microscope, have for decades been silently  suffering from discrimination and a catalogue of abuses.

 Myanmar has a history of persecuting its minorities, Muslims in particular. The Muslims constitute 4 percent of its 60 million population.

 Fleeing harrowing rights violations, they suffer at the hands of Myanmar’s authorities, some of the members of the heavily-persecuted Muslim community arrived in Jammu Kashmir on Sunday.

Some 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have also sought refuge in Bangladesh to avoid persecution.

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said on Friday that his country would offer assistance to repatriate the refugees to Myanmar, a process that has remained stalled for decades.

The request by Bangladesh comes amid increasing concerns over state-sponsored ethnic cleansing against the minority Muslim group in Myanmar.

The government of Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas, whom, it claims, are not natives and classifies them as illegal migrants, although, the Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the eighth century.

The UN says decades of discrimination have left the Rohingyas stateless, with Myanmar implementing restrictions on their movement and withholding land rights, education, and public services from them. The world body has also described the Muslim community as the Palestine of Asia and one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

Myanmar’s President Thein Sein said on July 19 that the "only solution" to the plight of Rohingya Muslims is to send the nearly-one-million-strong community to refugee camps run by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "We will send them away if any third country would accept them," he added. "This is what we are thinking is the solution to the issue."

 Bangladesh calls Rohingya refugees illegal immigrants. The UN refugee agency has recently aggravated the situation of the minority group by dismissing a demand by Myanmar government to accommodate the persecuted Muslims in new refugee camps.

Even Myanmar Western-sponsord democracy icon Aung San Suu Kvi has remained silent on atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingy Muslims.

Over the past two years, scores of ethnic Muslims have attempted to flee by boat in the face of systematic oppression by the Myanmarese government.

Reports say 650 Rohingya Muslims have been killed since June 28 during clashes in the Rakhine state in the west of the country. This is while 1,200 others are missing and 80,000 more have been displaced.

The UN has described Rohingya Muslims as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Hundreds killed in a few weeks and the world is just not bothered. The West is salivating about the prospects of new business opportunities in Myanmar. President Barack Obama has recently lifted restrictions on US investments in Myanmar and UK has opened a trade office on July 11 in Yangon. The United States is keen to counter vast clout that China enjoys in Myanmar. China and India have not spoken about this persecution as they too have vital interests there. Even the Muslim world has taken no notice of the grotesque brutalities in Myanmar. The OIC, which adopted a human rights charter in 2008, has also done little. And worse still, this huge problem of violation of basic human rights has not shaken the champion of human rights and darling of the West, Madam Aung San Suu Kyi.Thousand of Rohingya have fled by sea or river to Bangladesh only to be returned by its navy using brute force. This is in violation of the Convention on Refugees 1951 and its attendant Protocol of 1967. Under the Convention, no country can shut its borders to the refugees fleeing persecution.

It is about time that the UN, OIC and the international media took notice of this grave historic wrong of racial discrimination that has now become genocide. Bangladesh should speak for the Rohingya rights within Myanmar. After all, a peaceful and stable Myanmar, with all its minorities feeling secure, is good for the entire region.

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