MAKKAH - A global Muslim body decided Thursday, August 16, to take the killings of Bengali-ethnic Muslims, known as Rohingyas, in Buddhist-majority Burma to the United Nations.
"The summit has decided to bring this matter before the General Assembly of the United Nations," an emergency summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said in a final statement cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee their homes in Burma in June after ethnic violence rocked the western state of Rakhine after the killing of ten Muslims in an attack by Buddhist vigilantes on their bus.
The attack came following the rape and killing of a Buddhist woman, for which three Rohingyas were sentenced to death.
At least 77 people were killed in the violence and thousands of homes were burnt and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced.
The OIC said Saturday that it has received a green light from the Burmese government to assist displaced Rohingyas.
The move followed talks in the capital Yangon on Friday between an OIC delegation and President Thein Sein on the "deplorable humanitarian situation in Rakhine state."
The delegation assured the Burmese president that Islamic humanitarian organizations were willing to provide aid to all residents of the strife-torn state.
The OIC decision came two days after UK's Channel 4 News reported that the largest Muslim area in the Burmese city of Sittwe was razed to the ground during the recent violence.
The British broadcaster, which gained access to the city, found that the Nasri area, which once was home to 10,000, had been reduced to rubble.
Human rights groups have accused Burmese police and troops of disproportionate use of force and arrests of Rohingyas in the wake of the communal unrest.
Human Rights Watch has accused Burmese security forces of targeting Rohingya Muslims with killing, rape and arrest following the unrest.
Hundreds of Rohingya men and boys have been rounded up and remain incommunicado in the western region of the country, the group said.
Rohingya Muslims are believed to be descended from Arab and other Muslim traders who traveled and settled in the area more than 1,000 years ago.
They live in the mountainous northern Rakhine state, one of the poorest and most isolated in Myanmar.
Rohingya Muslims are described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
They have been denied citizenship rights since an amendment to the citizenship laws in 1982 and are treated as illegal immigrants in their own home.
Myanmar's government as well as the Buddhist majority refuse to recognize the term "Rohingya", referring to them as "Bengalis".Every year, thousands of minority Muslim Rohingyas flee Myanmar in wooden boats, embarking on a hazardous journey to Thailand or Malaysia in search of a better life.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net