Rohingya Crisis: Malaysia, Turkey condemn abuses

Rohingya refugees gather as they expect relief supplies in Kutupalang near Cox's Bazar. Photo:

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, a statement from the foreign office said.

“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.

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, Turkish presidential sources said.

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.


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