JEDDAH – A global Muslim body has proposed sending a fact-finding mission into Burma to probe massacres against the minority Rohingya Muslim in the Buddhist-majority country.
"More than 90,000 Muslims have either been killed or displaced," Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IC), told a meeting of the grouping’s executive committee on Sunday, August 5.
“Unfortunately, the numbers keep rising.”
|‘Open Prison’ for Rohingya Muslims|
He said the pan-Muslim body will try to persuade the Burmese government to accept an OIC fact-finding mission to probe massacres against Rohingyas, according to a statement released by the OIC.
The OIC chief "expressed disappointment over the failure of the international community to take action to stop the massacres, violations, oppression and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the government of Myanmar against the Rohingya Muslims."
"The OIC has directed its offices at the United Nations in New York to urge the Council to look into the suffering of the Rohingya minority," he said.
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.
The OIC chief called for revoking laws depriving Rohingya Muslims of their basic rights in their country.
“I had made a call to place pressure on the military regime in Myanmar (Burma) so that a law adopted in 1982 and one that took away the citizenship rights of Rohingya Muslims gets repealed,” Ihsanoglu said.
“This unjustified law made the Rohingya Muslims foreigners in their own land.”
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.
“The law has opened the doors for all types of discrimination and pressure,” Ihsanoglu said.
“Radical armed groups began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslims with the support of the regime and the government.”
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.
Voicing disappointment at the world inaction to end discrimination against Rohingyas, the OIC chief said the pan-Muslim body has worked to unite Rohingya Muslims.
"We succeeded in bringing together these organizations under the name 'United Coordination Council',” he said, referring to the formation of an umbrella organization grouping 24 Rohingya groups.
“Such a union made it possible to continue efforts for a peaceful co-existence, in democracy and based on human rights by one hand," Ihsanoglu said."It was the OIC that raised its voice first in the world in reaction to human rights violations of the Rohingya Muslims. Our efforts have brought the human rights violations in Myanmar to the attention of the international community.”