Foreign ministers from Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) have launched a campaign to mobilize international support for action against Myanmar over the Rohingya refugee crisis.
Foreign ministers and diplomats of 53-member organization set up a campaign committee during two days of talks in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka on Sunday.
OIC Secretary General Yousef bin Ahmed al-Othaimeen said the new committee would “mobilize and coordinate international political support for accountability for human rights violations against the Rohingya community.”
He added that Muslim nations had to “pressure the international community” over the issue. “This is not religious, this is human basic rights of our brothers and sisters in the last 50 years.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, al-Othaimeen called the move a key step toward ending a crisis caused by a massive exodus of Rohingya Muslims. “This is very important. This is one of the concrete steps that has been taken to alleviate the problem for our (Rohingya) brothers and sisters.”
The 45th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers kicked off in Dhaka on Saturday, with a focus on the plight of the Rohingya.
A number of envoys visited the Rohingya refugees in the camps in Cox’s Bazar the day before and spoke to the refugees there.
Bangladesh has put huge diplomatic effort into pressuring Myanmar to take back the refugees in safety.Bangladesh Foreign Minister A. H. Mahmood Ali said the OIC meeting had urged “strong action against the Myanmar government” on the Rohingya crisis.
The two nations signed a repatriation deal in November, but nobody has since returned.
UN Security Council envoys, who concluded a visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar last month, said Myanmar must conduct a “proper investigation” into alleged atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims in northwestern state of Rakhine.
Myanmar has come under intense criticism since the military launched a deadly crackdown against the Muslim minority in Rakhine in late 2016. Thousands of the Muslims have been killed.
About 700,000 others have fled the predominantly-Buddhist Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since August last year, bringing with them horrifying accounts of massacres, gang rape, and arson by Myanmar’s military forces and Buddhist mobs.
The UN has described the violence against the Rohingya as “ethnic cleansing” and possibly “genocide.”
The Muslim community has lived in Myanmar for generations but its members are denied citizenship and are branded illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which likewise denies them citizenship.