KUALA LUMPUR – Lauding Bangladesh’s efforts to resolve the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the European Rohingya Council has urged the Burmese government to end anti-Rohingya Muslim violence and ensure a safe repatriation process of Rohingya Muslims to their homes in Burma.
“We lauded the effort by Bangladesh and Myanmar [Burma] to discuss the safe return of Rohingya to their homes,” said Tengku Emma Zuriana, Ambassador to Malaysia of The European Rohingya Council, in a statement sent to AboutIslam.net.
“However this must be a voluntary process, in safety and dignity, and for them to return to their homes and not into camps and if there’s any loss of properties and lives, it must be compensated fairly,” she added.
Rohingya Muslims have been facing a catalog of abuse and discrimination over the past decades.
In its report released earlier this week, Amnesty International accused the Burmese government of running an apartheid regime against Rohingya Muslims, segregating them for years in an “open-air prison.”
The most recent bout of mass killings began in August 2017 when the Burmese military intensified what it calls “clearance operations” targeting “terrorists.”
The UN calls what’s happening in Rakhine state a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Documenting horrors against Rohingya Muslims, the European Rohingya Council believes that the Rakhine crisis should be labeled as a “genocide.”
The Council recalled a similar repatriation process in the 1990s and early 2000s when tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees were returned from Bangladesh to Burma with the assistance of the UN Refugee Agency.
But, they continued to face systematic state-sponsored discrimination and waves of violence in Rakhine State as reported by Amnesty International on 4th October 2017.
The European Rohingya Council also voiced concerns about the Burmese authorities’ announcement that they will establish displacement camps and settlement zones in northern Rakhine State.
“This will only allow the cycle of abuse to continue and this has happened so many times. Until Myanmar [Burma] government is serious to improve the situation, Bangladesh government should not agree to any repatriation plan,” said Zuriana.
To avoid any future surge of violence, the European Rohingya Council urged the Burmese authorities to “grant full citizenship to the Rohingya and review the 1982 Citizenship Law.”
The Council also urged Burma to put a comprehensive action plan to combat discrimination and segregation with active consultation and monitoring by the UN, allow aid workers, and ensure the perpetrators of crime against humanity must be brought to justice.