Government of Myanmar must act to stop the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 September, 2017, 3:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 September, 2017, 10:20pm

Over the last few months, the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong (the main representative body of Muslims in the city) have been closely following news reports regarding the oppression against Rohingya Muslims, especially in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state.

Like others around the world, we are extremely concerned that (according to recent reports) around 400 people have been brutally killed, and scores arrested and subjected to torture. Women have been raped, houses burned and uncountable numbers subjected to forced displacement.

With the violence escalating over the past few days, nearly 90,000 refugees have been forced to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh, while up to 20,000 people are reportedly still stranded at zones (effectively no-man’s-land) along the border of the two countries.

International agencies, including the United Nations, have also expressed their deep concern over the plight of the Rohingya. Members of this innocent Muslim minority (which has lived in Myanmar for generations) have been forced to flee across the border, leaving all their belongings in desperation.

The violence against Rohingya Muslims is totally unacceptable and in violation of international human rights conventions, which clearly state that the rights and freedom of minorities should be protected.

On behalf of the Muslim community of Hong Kong, we strongly condemn the brutal killings, torture and displacement of the innocent Rohingya, who are being mistreated with impunity and in total disregard of what can be considered as decent human values.

It is incumbent on the government of any country to ensure the safety of all peoples who live within its borders, be they citizens or otherwise. And this responsibility also falls on the government of Myanmar.

The government must take active measures to stop the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Myanmar and ensure their safety, security and well-being.

It must also allow free passage to humanitarian agencies both within and outside Myanmar to provide aid to people affected by the latest round of intolerable violence.

It is also the responsibility of this government to bring to justice all those who are committing such horrific acts.

Zoheir Tyebkhan, chairman, the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong