Reintegrate Rohingya, Syed Hamid tells Myanmar
|Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said that his appointment by the OIC as a special delegate to Myanmar showed that the organisation was concerned about the Myanmar administration’s alleged Islamophobia. — Picture by Choo Choy May|
By The Malay Mail Online
April 20, 2016
April 20, 2016
KUALA LUMPUR — Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) special envoy to Myanmar Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar called for the national reconciliation and reintegration of the persecuted Rohingya minority in Myanmar.
In a commentary on US paper Los Angeles Times yesterday, Syed Hamid, who formerly served as foreign and defence minister, said that his appointment by the OIC as a special delegate to Myanmar showed that the organisation — the second largest inter-governmental cluster after the United Nations (UN) — was concerned about the Myanmar administration’s alleged Islamophobia.
“It is a sign of how seriously we take the systemic Islamophobia of Myanmar’s government, and the inexplicable silence of Aung San Suu Kyi — otherwise a champion of the dispossessed and distressed — over this treatment.
“Indeed, national reconciliation and reintegration of the Rohingya is the only feasible, practicable way of addressing the humanitarian crisis created by years of discriminatory policy and exclusion,” he said.
Syed Hamid, who is also chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), said that Myanmar must first address the Rohingya issue before re-entering the international community to realise its full potential as a country.
Syed Hamid pointed out that while predominantly Buddhist Myanmar is now entering a new era of democracy under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the issue of how the Burmese government treated Muslim citizens remains unaddressed.
“Some of the praise she and her country receive is deserved. But much of it overlooks the unacceptable treatment of her Muslim citizens, who have suffered an ongoing and accelerating process of ‘otherisation’ and dehumanisation that is deeply frightening to watch.
“We hope the lessons of the past years, and the potential of years ahead, encourages the government of Myanmar to move in the right direction,” he added.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement on May 8 last year that some 25,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis boarded smugglers’ boats between January and March in 2015, almost double the number over the same period the previous year.
Over 1,000 Bangladeshi migrants and Rohingya refugees landed in Langkawi on May 10 last year, in what was deemed as the biggest humanitarian crisis in both Myanmar and Bangladesh.