Jeddah, May 24 (BNA): The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is mobilizing its resources to address the political and humanitarian aspects of the ongoing crisis facing the boat people in the Andaman Sea and Straits of Malacca adrift on the high seas, as part of its long standing campaign in support of the persecuted Muslim minority in Myanmar.
During the upcoming Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Kuwait on Wednesday, 27 May 2015, the issue will be top of the agenda through the OIC Contact Group on Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar, where a joint plan of action will be discussed for adoption.
Following closely this human tragedy, the OIC Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani, has reached out to some Foreign Ministers of Member States in the region to review the possible ways of OIC’s assistance. He instructed the OIC offices in Geneva and New York to actively coordinate with the relevant international agencies and organizations to contribute to humanitarian efforts regardless of the background or status of the victim. The OIC Special Envoy for Myanmar, Tan Sri Datuk Syed Hamid Albar, has been fully active on the ground as well working with local NGOs and contacting officials.
The OIC has also communicated with its network of humanitarian NGO’s to create a comprehensive action plan to address this current crisis. In addition, it is also preparing to launch a media awareness and fund raising campaign throughout its Member States.
It is the OIC’s firm position that the main cause for the current crisis is the dire situation facing the Rohingya of Myanmar. Since 2012, the deteriorating conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State for the Rohingya Muslims has caused as many as 100,000 Rohingya to flee Rakhine state on unseaworthy boats due to oppression, fearing abuse and killings. This has often put them and other migrants in the hands of vicious human traffickers. To comprehensively address this untenable situation, the international community must press the Myanmar Government to stop violating the basic human rights of the Rohingya and recognize them as full-fledged citizens of Myanmar; and allow all refugees to return to their homes.
The OIC has been concerned with the plight of the Rohingya for the past years and has actively supported their struggle to regain citizenship of Myanmar, which was revoked by the government in 1982 and to stop the violence and discrimination against them. It has assisted in founding the Arakan Rohingya Union as an entity that represents the Rohingya worldwide at international fora in seeking the support of the international community and raise awareness of their issue.
The OIC has also adopted an action plan to persuade the government of Myanmar to take steps against people promoting hate speech and instigating violence against the Rohingya, and has been holding inter-community and interfaith dialogue to counter such hate speech and regain the historic community tolerance among all Myanmarese.
The OIC is pushing forward in its efforts to allow internally displaced people to return to their homes; to invest in the socio-economic development of the Rakhine region; and to allow international humanitarian assistance to reach the community that was affected by the ethnic violence that broke out in 2012. The OIC had dispatched fact-finding missions to Myanmar and has proposed to the government to open a humanitarian office there, only to be faced by a senseless blanket rejection by the Myanmarese authorities.
The OIC is determined to continue working with the international community, not only to reach a lasting and durable settlement of the humanitarian crisis of the Rohingya, but also their status and inalienable rights of dignity, religious freedom, full citizenship and equal opportunity.
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BNA 1942 GMT 2015/05/24