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BHRN Praises the OIC for Meeting on Northern Rakhine State and Calls for Further Action

BHRN Praises the OIC for Meeting on Northern Rakhine State and Calls for Further Action 

21st January 2017: London, The United Kingdom 

The Burma Human Rights Network welcomes efforts by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Government of Malaysia and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who are holding an emergency meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers to address the dire situation within Burma’s Northern Rakhine State. We have taken great hope from the efforts the Prime Minister has made over the past few months and wish to convey our belief that his efforts, along with those of other ASEAN nations, have truly helped reduce the suffering of the Rohingya as pressure seems to have slowed the indiscriminate attacks of the Burmese Security Forces against the Rohingya population in Burma’s Northern Rakhine State. 

The situation in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine State has rapidly deteriorated since October. A violent and disproportionate crackdown has been unleashed on the civilian population in response to attacks on three Border Guard Police posts on October 9th and a few small skirmishes in the months that followed. Since the attacks on the police posts our organization has collected evidence of what we believe should be investigated as Crimes Against Humanity, as defined by the United Nations, carried out by Burmese Security Forces. These crimes, according to witnesses, have included rape, gang rape, sexual humiliation, murder, extra-judicial assassination, destruction of civilian property, forced displacement, torture, killing of suspects in custody and the intentional destruction of civilian food and livestock. It is clearly long past time for the world to act. 

“The OIC should support the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into the totality of the situation in Rakhine State, including violence and human rights violations since 2012. We would like to urge the OIC to work with other countries to ensure that as long as human rights violations continue, the UN General Assembly Resolution on Burma will once again be tabled every year,” said BHRN Executive Director, Kyaw Win. 

We believe an impartial inquiry must be conducted from within the international community. We ask that the OIC and its member states offer their official support to the establishment of a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into the events that have taken place in Northern Rakhine State since October 9th, 2016. We ask also that the OIC use its influence to help ensure that this Commission will be included in the next resolution on Burma at the Human Rights Council. 

While Aung San Suu Kyi established the Rakhine Advisory Commission chaired by Kofi Anan, its mandate focuses largely on poverty, assurance of basic rights and the promotion of ‘trust, harmony and reconciliation.” The existing commission does not have the mandate required by the situation in Northern Rakhine State to investigate what many believe may amount to Crimes Against Humanity by the Burmese Security Forces. Such a commission should assess the totality of the human rights violations against both Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine State since 2012, the Identity of the perpetrators, who the instigators of violence were, and a thorough assessment of which laws discriminate against the Rohingya.

Going forward it is difficult to see a peaceful resolution in Rakhine State but we believe an impartial independent investigation has the greatest chance of uncovering the truth, absolving the innocent, addressing grievances of marginalized communities and creating equitable conditions for those living in Rakhine State to move towards a more peaceful future. It is our hope that the OIC can wield its great power and influence to help initiate this process and help bring about transparency, equity and hope for those who’ve too long lived with none. 

Notes for Editors

Background on Current Situation:

On the 19th of January, 2017, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held an emergency meeting to address the situation in Northern Rakhine State as reports of human rights abuses by Burmese Security forces continued to emerge and tens of thousands of Rohingya now displaced, homeless and without food or aid. 

Background on the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)

Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) works for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in Burma. BHRN has played a crucial role advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.

Media Enquiries
Members of The Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) are available for comment and interview. 

Please contact:

Kyaw Win
Executive Director of the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
T: +44(0) 740 345 2378

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