THE recent clashes between ethnic Arakan Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Arakan (also called Rakhine state) in Myanmar have left at least 78 people dead and tens of thousands displaced.
An investigation by HRW found that the military government has since launched a crackdown on Rohingya, conducting violent sweeps, opening fire on villagers and arresting large numbers of Muslim men and boys.
It demonstrates state-sponsored persecution because most of Myanmar’s people don’t see the Rohingya as part of the country’s ethnic fabric.
Reports of the conditions of the Muslim minority after the violent attacks by the Buddhist majority community have caused deep concern among Muslim countries.
Graphic visuals of the violence and the distressing conditions in which the displaced people are living have further rouse public opinion in many countries.
Although permanently settled in western Myanmar and making one-third of the total population of Myanmar (nearly 800,000), they are not recognised as legal minority/citizens of the country.
They are denied fundamental rights and freedom while the military regime consistently perpetrates human rights violations against these powerless and unprotected people. According to an estimate, 90,000 Rohingya Muslims have now been forced from their homes in the Rakhine state in western Myanmar.
The Muslim groups from Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey have rallied behind the Rohingya cause. Nonetheless, the miseries of 800,000 Rohingya Muslims deserve immediate redressal of the issue.
Despite state repression, some of the complaints by the Rohingya have been echoed by the 20,000 displaced Rakhine sheltering in the area’s camps.
Families in these camps rest in groups on the floor, some with bags holding the few possessions they were able to carry with them when they fled burning villages.
The plight of the persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar must be heard and the reinvigorated world media must highlight the significance of human tragedy taking place in Myanmar. The Myanmar government should handle the issue diplomatically and reassure the global community of its intention of building an equitable society, coming to terms with its ethnic minorities.
RAFIQUE AHMED Islamabad