Monday, June 25, 2012

Give refuge to Rohingya, neighbours told

CALL FOR ACTION: UN urged to establish panel of observers to monitor volatile areas in Myanmar 

Read more: Give refuge to Rohingya, neighbours told - General - New Straits Times
A Rohingya woman, whose husband was allegedly killed in Myanmar, weeps as she waits to be sent back to Myanmar from a camp in Taknaf, Bangladesh, on Friday. AP pic
KUALA LUMPUR: THE Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) has called on neighbouring countries to help stop the continued persecution of the Rohingya community in  Rakhine state of western Myanmar.

Its executive director, Dr Zulaiha Ismail, urged them to reach out to the stateless Rohingya minority, who are seeking asylum after being displaced from their homes.

"We appeal especially to the people and government of Bangladesh to allow the fleeing Rohingya to seek temporary refuge there.

"We are fully aware of the economic and social pressures of the Bangladeshi people who have already had to accommodate about 200,000 Rohingya refugees with little aid from the international community, but this is a human catastrophe that cannot be ignored," she said yesterday.

Zulaiha also called on the United Nations to speed up the process of helping the thousands of asylum seekers in neighbouring countries.

She urged the world body to establish an international panel of observers to monitor the volatile areas in Myanmar.

"Since the UN itself has recognised the Rohingya to be one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, this could be a deterrent to further persecution," she said.

The international media recently highlighted that the Rohingya minority were physically attacked and had their homes burnt. Dozens had been reported dead, although it is believed that thousands had actually perished.

The Rohingya, who were born and lived in Myanmar, have been subject to human rights violations for decades.

The most evident being the denial of citizenship rights which has left the community vulnerable to intolerance and abuse.

Zulaiha said PGPF applauded the recent democratic progress in Myanmar, but expressed fear that the Rohingya issue could be relegated to that of a "sacrificial lamb".

"Given the high political stakes in the current liberalisation process in Myanmar, the Rohingya's plight will become an issue that is easily dispensable and of little significance to the political will of the major communities there."

PGPF, founded by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2005, is a movement that is committed towards advocating international peace and putting an end to war.

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