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World slammed for ‘doing nothing’ over Rohingya issue

Malaysian former foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar

Malaysian former foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar

By Ayhan Simsek,

Colonge: Malaysia’s former foreign minister has slammed world powers for failing to stop Myanmar regime’s continued “ethnic cleansing policies” against Rohingya Muslims.

“Myanmar knows that they are protected by the members of the major powers, like China, like Russia,” Syed Hamid Albar said, in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency.

“Nothing is done on Myanmar, so why should they stop all the atrocities? They feel that they can get away, scot-free, doing whatever they think is right to make sure that Myanmar becomes a pure Buddhist state,” he said.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the Amnesty International.

At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

Albar, who served as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) special envoy for Myanmar between 2014 and 2017, stressed that the regime forces committed crimes against humanity.

“There is consensus that there have been crimes against humanity, there is ethnic cleansing, there is genocide, this satisfies all the legal condition, and yet we cannot do anything,” he said.

Call for international pressure

Albar called for more international pressure on the regime to end its oppressive policies, and ensure the security of Rohingya people.

“We should try to influence and make sure that it is always on the global agenda, on the regional agenda, and also on the national agenda,” he said.

Albar has welcomed the recent visit of a delegation from the UN Security Council to Myanmar, but he voiced disappointment at the outcome of the talks with the Myanmar authorities.

“They say that they will help Myanmar to investigate. Myanmar is the perpetrator of the crime. How can you want Myanmar to investigate, it must be an independent body,” he stressed.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

Albar proposed deploying a UN force in Rakhine to ensure that Rohingya people can live in a safe area, without fear from new atrocities.

He said Rohingya refugees, who fled to neighbouring countries, should be able to return to their homeland if they voluntarily want to. He underlined that Myanmar should grant them full citizenship rights.

—AA

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