Afghanistan joins calls for end to Rohingya persecution
By Shadi Khan Saif
June 7, 2015
Afghan government joins countries calling for international action to support Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya minority
KABUL -- The Afghan government has joined calls for an end to persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority.
The country's Foreign Ministry on Sunday urged the United Nations and international community take immediate measures to protect Rohingya "who are tortured and those who have been displaced as a result of this violence."
“Islamic Republic of Afghanistan strongly denounces the sectarian violence against Muslims in Burma, as a result of which a large number of innocent people have been killed,” an Afghan Foreign Ministry statement said.
Afghanistan's comments follow a recent series of similar statements from Turkey, the U.S., Pakistan and Human Rights Watch after thousands of Rohingya washed up on the shores of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in May as they attempted to escape conditions in Myanmar.
"I think one of the most important things is to put an end to discrimination against people because of what they look like or what their faith is. And the Rohingya have been discriminated against significantly, and that’s part of the reason they're fleeing," U.S. President Barack Obama said last week.
Myanmar’s government, along with many others in the country, do not acknowledge the Rohingya as an ethnic group, and say the group are interlopers from Bangladesh.
Many Rohingya live under apartheid-like conditions and are denied basic rights, including freedom of movement and access to education.
The Rohingya are largely stateless and are described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted groups in the world. Tens of thousands have fled Myanmar on crowded boats in recent years.