Resolve Rohingya crisis ‘before it’s too late’, PM to OIC

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the OIC member states to show a unity for solving the Rohingya crisis before it is too late and placed some proposals before the OIC, including full implementation of the recommendations made by the Kofi Annan Commission.

‘I call upon OIC countries to show a unity to solve the Rohingya crisis before it is too late. Bangladesh is ready to join any initiative that OIC plans to take,’ she said.

The prime minister made the plea while speaking at the Meeting of OIC Contact Group on Rohingya Muslim Minority at the UN Headquarters in New York with OIC secretary-general Yousef Al Othaimeen in the chair on Tuesday.

Mentioning that the crisis has its root in Myanmar and its solution has to be found in Myanmar, Hasina said, ‘We want to see an end to the ‘ethnic cleansing’. The plights of our Muslim brothers and sisters need to be stopped as well.’

She also placed some proposals before the OIC.

The prime minister said all forms of atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims must be stopped immediately and ‘safe zones’ may be created inside Myanmar to protect the innocent civilians, especially women, children and elderly.

Hasina mentioned that all forcibly displaced Rohingyas must be able to return to their homeland in Myanmar in safety, security and dignity, and the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Commission will have to be implemented immediately and unconditionally in its entirety.

‘The state-sponsored propaganda to identify Rohingyas as ‘Bangalees’ must stop and the Muslim brotherly countries should help Bangladesh with urgent humanitarian assistance till they return to Myanmar,’ she said.

The prime minister mentioned that now the Muslim brothers and sisters in Myanmar face ‘ethnic cleansing’ and the ongoing military operations by the Myanmar authorities have created havoc in the Rakhine State.

She mentioned that this has caused the largest exodus of Rohingyas of all time and over 400,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh through land and river since August 25 and 60 per cent of them are children. ‘It’s an unbearable human catastrophe. I myself have visited them and listened to the stories of their grave sufferings, particularly of women and children.’

Hasina invited the leaders of OIC member states to visit Bangladesh and hear the stories of the Rohingyas how they fled the persecution in Myanmar.

She said Bangladesh had already been hosting another 400,000 Rohingyas for the last three decades. ‘So, altogether we’re hosting about 800,000 Rohingyas in Bangladesh. Despite space and resource constraints, we’re providing them with shelter, food and other emergency services.’

The prime minister alleged that Myanmar claims that the Rohingyas are ‘illegal immigrants from Bangladesh’ but all the historical records suggest that the Rohingyas have been living in Rakhine State for centuries.

‘Myanmar is forcibly driving out the Rohingya Muslims through a planned and organised process. First, they have been excluded from the list of recognised ethnic groups of Myanmar. Then in 1982, they were denied their right to citizenship. Later, they were sent to IDP camps in their own country.’

Hasina said Bangladesh has continued its diplomatic efforts to repatriate all the Rohingyas to their homeland. ‘But, Myanmar is not responding to our calls.’

The prime minister informed the OIC members that they might have also seen in the media that Myanmar is planting landmines along their stretch of the border to stop return of Rohingyas to their homeland.

Source: New Age

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