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Tuesday, September 19, 2017 09:26:35 PM
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Stop ethnic cleansing

Mounting global pressure on Myanmar

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Kazi Zahidul Hasan :
International pressure is mounting on Myanmar authorities to halt violence against Rohingya Muslims that has sent nearly 270,000 people fleeing over the border to Bangladesh in just two weeks. 
In the wake of mass Rohingya exodus, Bangladesh earlier urged the international community to mount pressure on Myanmar to stop pushing its nationals into the country and take back Rohingya refugees who are crossing in thousands following fresh military crackdown in Rakhine State.
Responding to the call, international agencies and governments around the world condemned the violence against Rohingya and continued to put pressure on Myanmar authorities for de-escalation and safeguard the rights of Rohingya people. 
Besides, thousands of people on Friday took to the streets in major cities of Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Philippines to protest against the harsh crackdown on Rohingya that triggered the mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh.
The demonstrators have condemned the ongoing crime against the Rohingya in Myanmar and called on the international community to take action to end the violence, which they described as 'ethnic cleansing'.
They also asked for the dispatch of humanitarian aid and a fact-finding committee to the region to investigate the atrocities against Muslims.
The latest violence in Myanmar's in the north- western Rakhine State began on August 25, following    alleged attack on dozens of police posts and an army base by insurgents.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a looming humanitarian catastrophe in western Myanmar after the killing of nearly 400 people - mostly Rohingya Muslims - in the worst outbreak of violence in years.
 "The secretary-general is deeply concerned by the reports of excesses during the security operations conducted by Myanmar's security forces in Rakhine State and urges restraint and calm to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe," said a statement issued by his office last Friday.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General, Yousef A Al-Othaimeen, wrote separate letters to UN Secretary General António Guterres and State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi on the issue.
Al-Otheimeen referred to the 'indiscriminate use of force against the civilian populations in Rakhine (the area in which the Rohingyas live), which put a huge number of civilian populations in a "miserable situation".
He reiterated OIC's call on the UN to continue exerting pressure on Myanmar to end the violence and to restore basic rights of the Rohingyas.
He also expressed the hope that "the United Nations Security Council could urgently and effectively address the issue."
The secretary general further noted that the current crisis has the potential of destabilizing the entire region unless the core issues of inequality, justice and citizenship are resolved.
The United States (US) on Thursday expressed deep concern about the situation in Myanmar's northwestern Rakhine State, where tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee across the border to Bangladesh.
 "We are deeply concerned by the troubling situation in Myanmar's Rakhine state," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters while briefing on Myanmar situation.
She said, "There has been a significant displacement of local populations following serious allegations of human rights abuses, including mass burnings of Rohingya villages and violence conducted by security forces and also armed civilians".
The US also condemn reported attacks on Burmese security forces and urged all parties in Myanmar to prevent further violence and protect local populations in ways that are consistent with the rule of law and with full respect for human rights.
It welcomed acknowledgement by the Myanmar government of the need to protect all communities, and its pledge to implement recommendations of the advisory commission on the Rakhine state aimed at addressing long-standing challenges that predate the country's democratic transition.
US Senators John McCain and Dick Durbin also introduced a resolution condemning the horrific acts of violence being committed against the Rohingya ethnic minority in Burma, and calling on Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi to take action to stop this humanitarian tragedy.
The resolution is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein, Cory Booker, and Bob Menendez.
Turkey expressed deep concern over the ongoing incidents in Myanmar, called on the Myanmar government to show utmost sensitivity and cautioned not to harm civilians.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, in a message to Burmese de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, termed the deaths of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar 'genocide and crimes against humanity'.
He called for an immediate halt to the atrocities against the ethnic minority.
Turkey has warned Myanmar that the ongoing attacks on Rohingyas may turn into a serious humanitarian crisis.
Turkey's first lady Emine Erdogan and a delegation including Turkish politicians and heads of Turkish aid agencies on Thursday visited Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar district hosting Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. She also distributed aid while getting information from the camp authorities.
The first lady told reporters that Turkey will do everything possible to help the Rohingya, and that her husband, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would take up the issue to the U.N. General Assembly meeting in this month.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has sent his Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Myanmar to urge its government to halt violence against Rohingya Muslims.
President Widodo added that concrete actions are needed and the Indonesian government is committed to help solve the humanitarian crisis and that Marsudi will also travel to Bangladesh to prepare additional aid for refugees there.
The Maldivian government has said that it is "deeply concerned by the recent cycle of violence that resulted in the death of dozens of Rohingya Muslims and displacing several thousands."
 "The Government of Maldives requests the United Nations Secretary General and the United Nations Human Rights Council to look into the grave violations of human rights against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar." The Foreign Ministry press statement said.

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