PRESS RELEASE: WUC Denounces Violence Against Rohingya Civilians in Myanmar
The World Uyghur Congress denounces acts of violence and intimidation perpetrated against Rohingya civilians in Myanmar in recent days that has led to a massive humanitarian crisis.
The UN in Bangladesh reported that nearly 90,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes in the past week to escape violence, but now face a humanitarian emergency as many are becoming trapped at the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Myanmar’s government has since blocked all UN aid agencies from delivering essential food, water and medicine to thousands of civilians who remain in the region.
According to reports, the violence began after Rohingya rebels attacked police stations last Friday, which led to a military response with little regard for the impact on the civilian population in the area. The actions echoed the government’s response to violence in October and November 2016 that saw a number of civilians killed and entire villages burned to the ground by the military.
The WUC rejects the use of violence for any end, particularly when aimed at defenseless civilians. In this context, we strongly condemn violence and draw attention to the fact that it is ultimately the Rohingya civilians who continue to suffer needlessly in these circumstances.
Recent reports of widespread burnings in at least 20 areas in northern parts of Burma’s Rakhine State are particular concerning given what we saw in late 2016.
We are dismayed by public statements from Myanmar’s State Counsellor and former Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, which have exacerbated tensions and fueled anti-Rohingya sentiments. The fact that Suu Kyi has not intervened to stop the violence is concerning.
From the perspective of the WUC, we cannot help but draw clear parallels between treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in East Turkestan. We are therefore concerned that Myanmar’s government is following China’s lead in persecuting innocent civilians under the guise of fighting against an armed opposition not representative of the minority population there.
It is ultimately the innocent and the vulnerable who suffer most from such violence and for that we express solidarity with the peaceful Rohingya people who have been persecuted and targeted for violence on account of their ethnicity and religion.
We call on the international community to urge Myanmar to stop its continued persecution of civilians and to immediately address the humanitarian concerns of the tens of thousands of Rohingya forced to flee their homes.