Rohingya refugee crisis: Malaysia, Turkey condemn abuses
12:00 AM, September 06, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:16 AM, September 06, 2017

Myanmar Rohingya Crisis: Malaysia, Turkey slam rights abuses

European Commission calls for giving aid workers full access in troubled Rakhine state

Malaysia and Turkey yesterday condemned escalating human rights violations targeting the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Malaysia summoned Myanmar's ambassador U Sein Oo to the foreign ministry where Kuala Lumpur registered its "deep concern regarding the escalation of violence", warning that it could cause Rohingya refugees to flood into other Southeast Asian countries, reports AFP, citing a statement from the foreign office.

"It would also see more people... become increasingly vulnerable to recruitment by extremists. Both have the potential to greatly impact the security and stability of the region," the foreign ministry said.

It was a rare show of disapproval within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), a group bound by the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of member countries.

The ministry also said that Foreign Minister Anifah Aman has held telephone discussions with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts to convene a special meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the Rohingya issue. The date and venue of the proposed meeting has yet to be decided.

Anifah on Monday told AFP he was "dissatisfied" with Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi's silence on the crisis.

Meanwhile, urging all sides to deescalate tensions, the European Commission yesterday said it was committed to putting in all efforts to restore aid deliveries in the Rakhine State and working tirelessly with all stakeholders to achieve this, our diplomatic correspondent reports.

"Unrestricted humanitarian access, including for aid workers, is critical to reach 350,000 vulnerable people in Rakhine State. They must be allowed to do their job to try to prevent the further deterioration of an already serious humanitarian situation," a top official of the European Commission said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday condemned escalating human rights violations targeting the Rohingya Muslim minority during a phone call with Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, AFP reports quoting Turkish presidential sources.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit Bangladesh today, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

In the phone call with Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner of Myanmar's junta, Erdogan said growing human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims "deeply concerned" the entire world, sources from his office said.

Suu Kyi has come under fire over her perceived unwillingness to speak out against the treatment of the Rohingya or chastise the military.

Erdogan said Turkey "condemns terror and operations against innocent civilians", adding that the developments in Myanmar had turned into a "serious humanitarian crisis which caused worry and resentment."

The Turkish leader had previously said he would bring up the issue at the next UN General Assembly in New York later this month.

Guterres on Friday said he was "deeply concerned" by the situation in Myanmar and called for "restraint and calm to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe".

A fresh upsurge of violence in mainly Buddhist Myanmar has forced tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees to flee the country for neighbouring Bangladesh, sparking fears of a humanitarian crisis.

The growing crisis threatens Myanmar's diplomatic ties, particularly with Muslim-majority countries in Southeast Asia such as Malaysia and Indonesia where there is profound public anger over the treatment of the stateless Rohingya.

Our diplomatic correspondent adds:

In a statement yesterday, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management of the European Commission Christos Stylianides also called on all sides to deescalate tensions and fully observe international human rights law, and in particular to refrain from any violence against civilians.

Many Rohingya civilians are suffering greatly and are now fleeing the violence across the border into Bangladesh.

"They must not be turned back or deported. We greatly appreciate the hospitality extended by the Government and people of Bangladesh for many decades, said the Commissioner in the statement available in the website.

"The assistance and protection of the Bangladeshi authorities regarding these new refugees is crucial until the situation in Rakhine State has stabilised and they can safely return," the statement added.

Maldives condemns atrocities on Rohingya Muslims

Strongly condemning the atrocities against the Rohingyas in Rakhine state, the Maldives has ceased all trade ties with Myanmar until the Buddhist majority country takes measures to stop persecution on the Muslim minority.

Citing “systematic repression” of the minority group as documented in the past by the UN, the Maldives expressed concern with “the recent cycle of violence that resulted in the death of Rohingya Muslims and displaced several thousands.

In a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Sunday night, the Maldives also called for swift action from the international community to stop the bloodshed.

“The Government of Maldives has decided to cease all trade ties with Myanmar, until the Government of Myanmar takes measures to prevent the atrocities being committed against Rohingya Muslims,” it reads.

“The Government of Maldives requests the United Nations Secretary General and the United Nations Human Rights Council to look into the grave violations of human rights against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.”

Around 123,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since violent clashes erupted on August 25, according to the UNHCR.

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