|(Photo – Getty Images)|
Oman Daily Observer
January 30, 2013
MUSCAT — Omani representatives along with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), world’s top Islamic body, have visited Myanmar’s Rakhine state several times to survey the fallout from deadly attacks on Rohingya Muslims.
“Oman has great concerns” about the humanitarian situation in Rakhine, Oman Charitable Organisation (OCO) chief Ali bin Ibrahim al Raisi, told the Observer in an exclusive interview.
Oman along with the OIC has agreed to provide development projects in the Rakhine state and not just humanitarian aid. The OIC is mobilising efforts to put in place a Special Fund for reconstruction and rehabilitation of Rakhine State.
During a recent OIC fact-finding mission to Myanmar, the OIC signed a memorandum of co-operation with Myanmar to establish a Humanitarian Affairs Office.
“Once OIC starts working in Myanmar, the OCO will launch a campaign in the Sultanate for involving the public in raising funds for Rohingyas,” said Al Raisi.
“Oman is keen to build houses in Myanmar and to invest in sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture so as to generate jobs for the people,” he added.
As part of the OIC, Oman has been in talks with the Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She has promised to co-operate with the OIC. All Islamic countries are keen to launch programmes in Myanmar for the oppressed Rohingyas, he added.
At a summit in Mecca, the 57-member OIC condemned “the continued recourse to violence by the Myanmar authorities against the Rohingya minority and their refusal to recognise their right to citizenship”. Myanmar in August agreed to allow the OIC to provide aid to the region, on the condition it agreed to assist all communities in the area.
The OIC is keen to increase economic co-operation with Myanmar to help generate greater opportunities for its younger generations. Suu Kyi said that Myanmar badly needs investment in manufacturing sector as many young people in her country are without jobs.
Oman along with the OIC has condemned the killing of Rohingyas in Myanmar and announced that OCO is ready and keen to work in the Rakhine state to help improve its humanitarian situation, added Ali al Raisi.
The OIC has said Rohingyas face ‘genocide’ in Rakhine as violence against the ethnic minority rages on. The UN said recently more than 22,000 Rohingyas have been displaced in western Myanmar. The UN has described the “Rohingya community as the Palestine of Asia and one of the most persecuted minorities in the world”.
Human Rights Watch has released satellite images showing “extensive destruction of homes and other property in the predominantly Rohingya area”.
Myanmar’s estimated one million Rohingyas are officially stateless, and regarded by the government of Myanmar as illegal immigrants, rather than one of its 135 official ethnic groups.
Last year on December 25, the UN General Assembly issued a resolution expressing concern over the persecution of Rohingyas. The resolution called on Myanmar’s government to “protect all their (Rohingya minorities’) human rights, including their right to a nationality.”
The OCO along with the OIC team in its further visits to Myanmar would again assess the needs of humanitarian assistance for those affected by the violence in Rakhine state and co-ordinate with Myanmar authorities to develop a plan for the urgent provision of this assistance.
The OIC has built an alliance between the humanitarian organisations in the 57 member countries to undertake practical steps on the issue of Rohingya minority. The OCO is an active member of this alliance.
Experts say since Islam is the defender of the oppressed people, it is incumbent on all the 57 OIC members to take measures to help put an end to the mass murder of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.