by TMO Staff
Pope Francsis and the United Nations (UN) have called on world leaders to intervene on behalf of the Rohingyas facing what is described as a slow-burning genocide in Maynmar.
Pope Francis will visit Myanmar in November, the Vatican has announced. The pontiff on Sunday decried the “sad news about the persecution of the religious minority of our Rohingya brothers,” urging worshippers to take a stand.
The East Asian team leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights group, Benedict Rogers said the Pope’s visit to Myanmar could be an important step towards “genuine peace, reconciliation and justice.”
“To have a worldwide Christian leader such as Pope Francis speaking out and standing in solidarity with a persecuted Muslim community sends a vital message about the importance of freedom of religion or belief and inter-religious harmony,” Rogers said.
Meanwhile the international response to the crisis has been growing. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has stated that the violence in Myanmar should be immediately stopped, urging all parties to take concrete action to deal with the conflict. Foreign Minister Marsudi has already left for Myanmar to ask the government to stop and prevent violence, and to also provide access to humanitarian aid. The Indonesian capital, Jakarta, saw a big demonstration on Wednesday outside the Burmese embassy. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at the embassy, causing a small fire on the second floor.
Tens of thousands of people also took to the streets in a demonstration in Moscow and other places to protest the “genocide of Muslims” in Myanmar. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov compared the violence against Rohingya to the Holocaust.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vehemently condemned the on going ethnic cleansing, in a public statement. He urged the international community to help Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, saying the world was “blind and deaf”. He underlined that Turkey would not leave the oppressed Rohingya Muslims alone.
Erdogan also said that his wife and son will join Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu, who was traveling to Bangladesh to deliver aid to Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar due to violence. The President vowed to bring up the Rohingya issue during the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Kazakh capital Astana, which will take place between September 7-11. He also vowed to speak of the issue and during the U.N. General Assembly in N.Y. set for set for September 20. Erdogan has stated that he discussed the crisis in Rakhine with nearly 30 world leaders, specifically those of Islamic countries.
“The world has witnessed enough of pain and suffering. We will continue to be the voice of Rakhine’s Muslims, to help them,” Erdogan added, reiterating his call to end the violence and to find a permanent solution to the Rohingya issue.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized the global community for remaining silent and called for “crucial” action to end the acts of aggression against the minority group.
Top UN human rights official Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who called on Myanmar political leadership to protect all civilians “without discrimination”, said “this turn of events is deplorable. It was predicted and could have been prevented.”
The youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai, said her “heart breaks” at the suffering of Rohingya Muslims and urged Myanmar’s leader, a fellow Nobel laureate, to condemn the violence against the Rohingya minority.
“Over the last several years I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment,” Yousafzai said, in a statement posted on Twitter. “I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same. The world is waiting and the Rohingya Muslims are waiting.”
Senegalese footballer Demba Ba called on Muslims to take action to protect Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar amid concerning reports of a growing number of deaths and forced displacements of Muslims. Speaking in the holy city of Mecca, after performing the pilgrimage, Ba said the international community carries a great responsibility for the developments in Myanmar.
“Everybody sees and knows what is happening, but nobody is actually acting or talking to stop this,” Ba said
In India, activists displayed placards during a protest against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims near Myanmar Consulate in Kolkata. Protestors demanded postponement of proposed visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar- however, Modi is currently in Myanmar.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry urged Myanmar’s government to investigate reports of massacres and to hold those involved accountable.
A worldwide signature campaign has begun to bring pressure on Aung Sann Suu Kyi to stop the genocide.
The appeal for signature campaign on Change.org said:
“Aung San Suu Kyi is an apologist for genocide, ethnic cleansing and mass rape. For the past year, Aung San Suu Kyi has been State Counsellor, or de facto head of government, in Myanmar, where members of the Rohingya Muslim minority in the northern Rakhine state have been shot, stabbed, starved, robbed, raped and driven from their homes in the hundreds of thousands. In December, while the world focused on the fall of Aleppo, more than a dozen Nobel Laureates published an open letter warning of a tragedy in Rakhine amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has announced its decision to grant residential permits to over 100,000 Rohingyas.
The silence of the neighboring Indian Prime Minister during his recent visit to Myanmar was conspicuously noticed by the world leaders. It is estimated that currently 14,000 Rohingyas are in India and Modi is under pressure from his own members to send them back to Maynmar or Bangladesh.