The prime minister’s powerful call at the 14th OIC Summit is very appropriate—both in terms of the timing as well as the forum. And we strongly reiterate her views. Although it is not the first time that the PM has called upon the second largest international organisation to bring to bear its weight to resolve the issue, this time her call was to carry forward the Gambia-led initiative introduced in the OIC foreign ministers conference in March to hold Myanmar to account for its genocidal acts against the Rohingya minority in Rakhine. It called for taking legal recourse to establish Rohingya rights and seek justice for them by taking Myanmar to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
Given the adverse potential of the Rohingya crisis for Bangladesh and for the region, it is disheartening to note that the Rohingya issue finds no mention in the Mecca Declaration issued after the Summit. It is surprising that a million or so persecuted Rohingyas, evicted from their country, would merit no mention in the final communique. It only sends the wrong signal to Myanmar.
We expect the OIC to do more, both in the diplomatic as well as the humanitarian front, to ameliorate the condition of the Rohingyas and relieve Bangladesh of the huge burden it has endured over the last two years. Regrettably, OIC’s action so far has been confined largely to making occasional statements. The matter being of a very serious nature, involving a member of the OIC, its efforts so far has been fragmented at best. Merely urging a halt to violence and reminding the Myanmar’s government of its responsibility to protect its citizens is not enough. Given a most obstinate, arrogant and highly insensitive government in Naypyidaw, homilies and hopeful wishes would cut no ice.
The 57-member organisation should do more, particularly in the diplomatic front to help early and safe repatriation of the refugees to their own country and ensure accountability and justice for gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the military junta in Myanmar against the Rohingyas. And side by side, it must be more forthcoming with its material help for the nearly one million refugees camped in Cox’s Bazar.