NEW YORK – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) says Rohingya Muslims face ‘genocide’ in Myanmars western state of Rakhine as violence against the ethnic minority rages on.
“We expect from the United states to convey a strong message to the government of Burma so they protect that minority, what is going on there is a genocide,” Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, who is the acting OIC chairman, said on Saturday.
“We are telling things how they are, we believe that the United States and other … countries … should act quickly to save that minority which is submitted to an oppressive policy and a genocide,” he said.
Some 800,000 Rohingyas are deprived of citizenship rights and suffer most from the policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of naturalization, and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion and displacement.
The Myanmar government has so far refused to lift stateless Rohingyas in the western state of Rakhine from citizenship limbo, despite international pressure to give them a legal status.
Rohingya Muslims have faced torture, neglect and repression in Myanmar since it achieved independence in 1948.
Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in recent attacks by Buddhist extremists.
Buddhist extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and have set fire to their homes in several villages in the troubled region. Myanmar army forces allegedly provided the Buddhists with containers of petrol to set ablaze the houses of Muslim villagers and force them out of their houses.
Myanmars government has been accused of failing to protect the Muslim minority.
Myanmars opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also come under fire for her stance on the violence. The Nobel Peace laureate has refused to speak out against abuses committed by Myanmars military on Rohingyas.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued separate statements, calling for Myanmar to take action to protect the Rohingya Muslim population against extremist Buddhists.
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