Myanmar’s military rulers scrapped the citizenship of Rohingya Muslims through a controversial law in 1982. And the Rohingya Muslim minority group has long been persecuted in Myanmar and the state has been denying their rights to movement, education, employment and all that. Successive political regimes literally have been carrying out plans to displace this human race from where they have been living for generations. After a long mum on this issue, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) arranged a special meeting of foreign ministers of its member countries on Thursday in Malaysia.
The OIC called for the restoration of calm to the affected areas in Myanmar and holding the perpetrators accountable. This organisation of the Islamic countries is committed to work for the protection and promotion of rights and interests of Muslims where they are the minority. We welcome this step towards fulfilling the obligation of this international forum to defend Muslim minorities in Myanmar.
In the wake of violence unleashed in 2012 by Buddhist extremists, Myanmar drove out thousands of Rohingya people from their homeland and killed many innocents. And in October last year, hundreds more were killed and nearly 65,000 were displaced who mostly took shelter in Bangladesh, which has been sheltering some 3,00,000 undocumented and 3,33,000 documented Rohingyas for decades and suffering from socio-economic consequences for the influx of refugees.
There is no way out of this Rohingya crisis what Bangladesh is facing unless the government of Myanmar ends atrocities against their own people, restore their citizenship and take back displaced Rohingyas to Rakhine state. Our State Minister for Foreign Affairs rightly echoed the concern that recurrence of violence will result in further displacement of Rohingya people and this will force them to take shelter in Bangladesh in greater numbers.
The Rohingya problem is not an internal issue of Myanmar; rather it has turned into an international crisis and the worst example of persecution and state-sponsored violence in this civilised world. The OIC has a greater role to play to end this crisis. It should mobilise strong opinion with the help of its member states and raise its voice in international forums to end systematic cleansing of this minority group in Myanmar.