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No reprieve for Rohingyas
Publication Date : 19-07-2012
The plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is finally getting international attention after recent incidents of violence against one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Not only the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and other bodies have raised concerns over brutal anti-Rohingya violence but also the international media is now highlighting the state-backed persecution of the hapless people.
Recently The New York Times published an article on the issue terming the violence against Rohingyas as "state-supported ethnic cleansing".
However a recent statement by Myanmar President Thein Sein suggests that he is unmoved by the international criticism. The president believes that the only solution to the issue is to expel around 800,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar. "We will send them away if any third country would accept them," he told UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres during a meeting last week.
Although the UNHCR rejected the shocking suggestion, the statement of the President has lent credence to reports that Myanmar government is not ready to give any rights to the Rohingyas who have been living in the country since at least two centuries.
It also shows that the recent much touted political reforms have not changed the bitter realities for Rohingyas. Surprisingly, even Aung San Suu Kyi, who is globally hailed as a champion of democracy and human rights, is silent over this grave injustice in her own backyard. Earlier this month, OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, appealed to her to speak out to end the violence.
So far it seems that mere appeals and statements by the world bodies will not work. The OIC may have to convene its meeting to send a strong signal to the Myanmar government that the Muslim Ummah would not accept the ethnic cleansing of a Myanmar minority.