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Myanmar Invites OIC to Probe Unrest

Published: 10/08/2012 04:18:16 PM GMT
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YANGON - In an effort to diffuse mounting outcry over accusations of prosecuting the Muslim Rohingya, Myanmar President has invited a global Muslim body to visit Rakhine state to probe claimed massacres against the minority R (more)

YANGON - In an effort to diffuse mounting outcry over accusations of prosecuting the Muslim Rohingya, Myanmar President has invited a global Muslim body to visit Rakhine state to probe claimed massacres against the minority Rohingya Muslim in the Buddhist-majority country.

“The president said he hoped the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) secretary could witness the reality [in Rakhine],” state mouthpiece the New Light of Myanmar said, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on Friday, August 10.

President Thein Sein added that tens of thousands of displaced people from both sides are being given food and shelter.

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OIC head Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on Sunday proposed sending a mission to probe “massacres... oppression and ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya in Rakhine.

The calls by the pan-Muslim body added weight to earlier calls by Egypt and Saudi Arabia for an investigation into the unrest that has hit the state over the past three months.

Ethnic-Bengali Muslims, generally known as Rohingyas, are complaining of persecution and discrimination in Burma.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee their homes 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.

Human rights groups have accused Burmese police and troops of disproportionate use of force and arrests of Rohingyas in the wake of the riots.

Human Rights Watch accused Wednesday Burmese forces of targeting Rohingya Muslims in the wake of the ethnic violence.

The New York-based group 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.

Turkish Visit

Thein Sein's comments came as the visiting foreign minister of Muslim-majority Turkey offered aid to the strife-stricken Rakhine state.

“The administration (in Myanmar) says the deaths are around a hundred... but the Muslim leaders in Rakhine, with whom we have been in contact, say the deaths reach thousands,” Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara before his departure.

Davutoglu is taking along medical supplies and donations collected by Turkey's Red Crescent to deliver to “probably more than 50,000 Muslims and 20,000 Buddhists” who have been displaced from their homes by the conflict.

To raise awareness of the plight of Muslims in Myanmar, the Hurriyet Daily News said Erdogan's wife, Emine Erdogan, and daughter, Sumeyye Erdogan, will accompany Davutoglu to Myanmar, in addition to Davutoglu's wife Sare Davutoglu.

President Thein Sein on Thursday welcomed the $50 million aid donation by Turkey.

He also urged “the Turkish minister to explain the realities in Myanmar” to the OIC, AFP added.

Rohingya Muslims 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".

Last month, Burmese President Thein Sein said that Rohingyas should be settled in a third country.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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