Malaysian NGOs call for truce in Myanmar

Malaysian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) call on Myanmar government to immediately stop military operations on Rakhine civilians that have targeted the Rohingya people.

A memorandum by the NGOs, which will be delivered through the Ambassador of Myanmar to Malaysia, Zaw Myint, to the State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi and President of Myanmar Htin Kyaw.

“We from the Malaysian NGOs are seriously concern pertaining to the current Myanmar military operation in the Rakhine state. The supposedly targeted operation to crackdown on insurgence group, is now indiscriminately victimising the Rohingya ethnic,” said the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisation (MAPIM) President Azmi Hamid in the memorandum endorsed by a group of NGOs.

Humanitarian organisations estimate as many as 17,000 Rohingya Muslims have been displaced from their homes in Northern Rakhine state since the counter insurgency operation began in October 2016 until March 2017.

A Rohingya refugee living in Malaysia uses a slipper to hit a banner with a portrait of Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest against the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, in Kuala Lumpur on September 8, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mohd Rasfan)

The group calls for Myanmar to adhere to the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration to protect human rights of all people irrespective of race, religion and creed. Other plights include to resolve citizenship issues faced by the Rohingya, to offer equal treatment and to provide equal opportunity for Rohingyas to participate in the national development of Myanmar.

According to the NGOs, Myanmar should respect and submit to the resolutions passed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to allow the fact-finding mission gain access into affected areas, to restore peace in the these areas, to disarm vigilante groups in Rakhine and allow the displaced victims to return back to their homes safely.

The NGOs also request the Myanmar government to compensate losses suffered by the population, to rebuild the destroyed homes and villages by the attacks launched against the Rohingya civilians, to allow humanitarian organisations into affected areas and to assist in the rehabilitation the war-torn Rakhine state.

Since the military operation that started on August 25, 2017, more Rohingyas are expected to flee into the jungles and cross the Naf river into Bangladesh for safety. Latest information depicts that more than 25 villages were destroyed, more than 20,000 have fled from their burnt houses while the biggest madrasa, a religious school for Islamic studies in the town of Mirula, was completely destroyed with more than 500 killed.

“We regret you 'offering no words of stopping the violence' and your deafening silence on the brewing sectarian conflict and the military brutality inflicted upon the Rohingya population reflects your stand that there is no future of peace for the Rohingya and the region,” Azmi said.

As warned by the International Commission of Jurists “Establishing an armed, untrained, unaccountable force drawn from only one community in the midst of serious ethnic tensions and violence is a recipe for disaster.”