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OIC Foreign Ministers Hold Extraordinary Session on Rohingya Plight

By Qutub Shah | December 19, 2016

Kuala Lumpur — A foreign-ministry level conference of the member nations of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the plight of the Rohingya was commenced here in Kuala Lumpur today (Jan 19).

 The conference was inaugurated by the Foreign Minister (FM) of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman, with opening speech followed with the speeches by the OIC Secretary General, HE Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen and the Prime Minister (PM) of Malaysia, Dato Sri Mohd Najib.

In the opening speech, the Malaysian FM explained the purpose of Malaysia’s initiative to convene the extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers and said “in line with the objectives and principles of the OIC, it is our hope to convey need for the Government of Myanmar to end discrimination and undertake remedial actions to improve the situation.

“Malaysia, as founding member of the OIC and ASEAN, has consistently and clearly expressed its stance on this issue. Malaysia also believes that, this crisis, if left unaddressed, could potentially impact the security and stability of this region through an influx of refugees and is no longer be considered purely as Myanmar’s domestic affairs.”

The OIC Secretary General thanked the OIC Member states for their continuous financial and humanitarian assistances to the Rohingya refugees in conclusion of his speech and also encouraged all the member states to continue their supports to the Rohingya cause by engaging in the articulations of solutions to the challenges that confront the Rohingya.

He ended in his speech saying “I look forward to our (closed door) discussions on how we can move forward in our efforts to alleviate the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.” [Full Speech Below]

The Malaysian PM Najib called the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State is a cause of great and immediate concern to all and urged the Myanmar government to stop the violence as the loss of life can’t be disputed.

The PM Najib showing great concerns on the Rohingya plight said “this not only caused untold suffering to the people who were forced to flee their homes, but had the potential to impact the security and stability of the broader region.

“We fear that if the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine State is not properly addressed, militant elements could infiltrate and possibly radicalise this oppressed community.

“We strongly urge the Government of Myanmar to provide unimpeded access for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the affected areas. At the same time, we call on the Government of Myanmar to facilitate the safe and dignified return of refugees to their homes and communities.” [The full speech of the PM Najib can be read HERE.]

First half of today’s conference was an open session with pre-registration process and it was attended by the OIC foreign ministers, international diplomats, NGOs, Human Rights Observers, local Malaysians and the members of the Rohingya diaspora in Malaysia. The second half of the conference was a closed door session among the foreign ministers of OIC Member nations, where the ministers are expected to come out with a solid resolution to effectively put pressures on the Myanmar government and military to stop the violence against Rohingya.

The conference is being held in the wake of the Myanmar military offensives on the Rohingya civilians in Arakan especially in Northern Maungdaw since October 9, 2016. The military have mainly targeted the civilians on pretext of ‘ the Clearance Operation’ killing more than 500 civilians, arbitrarily arresting more than 1,000 people, raping more than 200 women and burning down more than 5,000 homes leading to exodus of mass refugees numbering more than 50,000.

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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Full Speech of OIC Secretary General, HE Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen