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ISLAMABAD: In an open letter to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan has condemned silence and inaction of the UN on the genocide and plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The letter recalls that earlier in June 2015 also, Mr Khan had written a letter to the UN secretary general to voice concern over the plight of Rohingya Muslims and to seek a strong humanitarian response from the world body. But, unfortunately, nothing happened and today genocide of the Rohingyas is taking place in Myanmar while the international community remains an appeasing spectator.

“Today, again, on behalf of myself and my party (PTI), I wish to state that we find this continuing silence and complete inaction by the UN on the continuing plight and persecution of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar a shameful testament to UN failure to follow its basic principles of upholding human rights and protecting a people from genocide.

“The principle of humanitarian intervention was specifically added to the UN mandate in the face of the Rwandan genocide, but the UN has once again failed to protect people from persecution and genocide: this time the Rohingyas of Myanmar,” Mr Khan said.

He said that the international community seemed to have learnt no lessons from international appeasement that eventually led to the Second World War. In the wake of the Rwandan genocide, it was expected that the UN would assert the principle of humanitarian intervention without discrimination wherever a people were threatened with massacre and genocide. Sadly, so far the UN has failed to live up to its own charter, he regretted.

“It has been heartbreaking to witness the silence of the UN and the international community on the persecution of the Rohingyas in Myanmar since the 1970s. The hypocrisy prevalent within the international community on human rights and humanitarian interventions has been acutely evident as the Rohingya crisis has unfolded. Those who sought to give the UN the Right to Humanitarian Intervention have been the most reluctant to exercise this right now that it has been established within the UN. It is the duty of the UN, and yourself as its Secretary General, to ensure the safety of refugees and protection of people from persecution,” the PTI chief tells Mr Guterres.

“I call on you, as the Secretary General, to move the UN Security Council to end the persecution and genocide of Rohingyas within Myanmar and to bring to an end their inhumane plight as starving, disease-ridden refugees are denied basic shelter, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2017