Burma Times: 17 June 2015
Pakistan received full support in an OIC meeting at the UN on Monday where Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi proposed taking the plight of Rohingya Muslim to the UN Secretary General.
Speaking at an OIC Ambassadorial-level meeting on the Rohingya Muslims, here, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative proposed that a delegation of the OIC countries should apprise Secretary General Ban ki Moon about the sentiments of its members about the issue.
Dr Maleeha Lodhi also proposed that the recent resolution on the Rohingya Muslims adopted at a Ministerial meeting of the OIC be sent to the President of the Security Council, with the request to have it circulated as an official document of the Council. The resolution expressed deep concern over the continued systematic discrimination against Rohingya Muslims.
Both these proposals were supported and accepted by members of the OIC group, whose President, The Kuwaiti Permanent Representative assured follow up of these decisions.
Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi also told the meeting that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a letter to the UN Secretary General delivered on Monday had urged the UN to intensify diplomatic and moral pressure on the Myanmar government to grant citizenship rights to the Rohingya Muslims, in accordance with international humanitarian law.
She said that the Prime Minister had also urged the international community to increase all forms of assistance to the Rohingya migrants, including for those who had left the country and were in temporary shelters in neighboring countries.
On Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi’s initiative, the issue of Rohingya Muslims was included on the agenda of the OIC meeting in New York, with the aim of providing an opportunity to member states to exchange views on this important and urgent issue and deliberate on how to bring their plight of to the attention of the UN and ensure respect for the human rights of the beleaguered community.
She said that Pakistan wished to see how OIC member states could help Rohingya Muslims through provision of critical humanitarian assistance. “There is urgent need to set up a special OIC fund to help in the relief and rehabilitation of this persecuted and displaced community”, she asserted.
While appreciating the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia for agreeing to provide temporary asylum to over 7,000 asylum seekers, Ambassador Lodhi said that this was not a permanent solution, nor was it appropriate to put the burden on two or three governments alone.
“The international community as a whole, and the OIC in particular, has to come together and play its due role for timely, effective and eventually a permanent solution of this problem”, she emphasized.
Terming the Rohingya Muslims as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that the root cause of the ongoing humanitarian crisis lay in the persistent denial of their fundamental human rights and liberties, including the right to citizenship. She said that they are being subjected to systematic discrimination, restrictions on freedom of movement and practice of religion, constraints on property rights as well as access to education and health.
She told the OIC meeting that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced a package of financial assistance through the World Food Programme for distribution in Rohingya camps in Malaysia and Indonesia.