OIC-IPHRC joins the international human rights community in once again expressing its dismay and shock over the recent and ongoing wave of indiscriminate violence by State authorities against the Rohingya Muslim community in Rakhine State, Myanmar. As per UN estimates, about 60,000 have fled escalating violence and mass killings, which include Rohingyas being indiscriminately killed and injured by military gunfire, even while fleeing, and helicopters and rocket-propelled grenades being used against the civilian population. Around 27,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed into Bangladesh since last Friday, and a further 20,000 remain stuck in between the two countries.
Contrary to the claims of the Myanmar Government, which blames "terrorists" for initiating the violence, multiple UN and international human rights organizations’ reports including the latest Report of the Advisory Commission of Mr. Kofi Annan (appointed itself by the Myanmar Government) have repeatedly highlighted and stressed that “if the human rights concerns are not properly addressed, and if people remain politically and economically marginalized, it will provide fertile ground for radicalization, with people becoming increasingly vulnerable to recruitment by the extremists”. Instead of paying attention to these well-advised reports, Myanmar government is using indiscriminate military force, including heavy artillery, on civilian population. The recent security operations, including the apparent arson attacks against Rohingya villages, ill treatment of civilians including torture, rape and extrajudicial killings are a matter of grave concern for the entire international community, in particular all Muslims around the world.
As a result of the severe excesses by Myanmar security forces resulting in surging death toll among affected population in particular the Rohingya Muslims, the UN's World Food Program (WFP) has suspended aid works in Rakhine State citing safety concerns. The suspension of food assistance operations would affect 250,000 internally displaced and other most vulnerable populations, as indicated by the WFP.
OIC-IPHRC strongly condemns these atrocious human rights violations and calls upon the Myanmar government to take immediate and effective actions to bring to an end to all forms of human rights violations against innocent and unarmed Rohingya Muslim population. IPHRC also joins the UN Special Procedures in calling upon the Myanmar Government to positively implement the recommendations of the International Advisory (Kofi Annan) Commission on Arakan/Rakhine State. These recommendations include the longstanding demands to the Government of Myanmar by the international human rights community on issues of citizenship, freedom of movement, Internally Displaced Persons, unhindered humanitarian and Media access, provision of education, health, and other development issues. The report also recommends urgent and sustained action on a number of fronts to prevent violence, maintain peace, foster reconciliation and offer a sense of hope to the State’s hard-pressed Rohingya population.
IPHRC also urges all OIC Member States, especially neighboring countries to continue engaging and urging the Myanmar government to uphold its obligation of ensuring the promotion and protection of human rights of all its citizens in particular its persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. OIC countries should also raise these concerns at all appropriate international forums including the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the Security Council in New York.
IPHRC will continue to closely follow the situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and will explore opportunities together with concerned stakeholders to take joint actions to mitigate the human rights and humanitarian situation faced by the Rohingya Muslims. IPHRC also takes the opportunity to renew its call upon the Myanmar Government to allow undertaking a fact-finding visit as well as the establishment of the OIC humanitarian office for disbursement of humanitarian aid in the Rakhine State.