Mahathir for int’l community’s stronger engagement to end Rohingya crisis
Mentioning that the Myanmar government is unwilling to resolve the crisis, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad said it is left up to the international community to do something about it.
“It’s clear that the Myanmar government is unwilling to resolve the crisis. Therefore, it’s left up to us - the international community - to do something about the situation,’ said Mahathir.
He said this while addressing the High Level Side Event on Situation of Rohingya Minority in Myanmar Organised by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh and the OIC Secretariat at the Conference Room 11 of the UN Headquarters on Tuesday.
For a start, the UN should play its role in taking into account that it was established in hopes of preventing future human made miseries, he said adding, “Its silence is deafening."
Mahathir said without the Security Council’s action other must do their part to resolve the crisis and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“Malaysia will continue to insist that the repatriation be done in a safe voluntary and dignified manner. This can only be done by granting full citizenship to the Rohingyas,’ he said.
The situation in Myanmar is not any better and many Rohingyas have become internally-displaced persons (IDPs) languishing in camps in Rakhaine.
"When the world likened the IDP camps to those notorious concentration camps of the past the Myanmar government has been quick to deny,’ Mahathir said.
Yet the Myanmar authorities have denied access to some UN officials and humanitarian aid workers, the Malaysian PM said, "If Myanmar has nothing to hide why bar others from seeing the situation in Rakhaine? Let these officials and aid workers visit, inspect and assist those living in the camps. Myanmar should demonstrate that it’s serious in alleviating the crisis."
Mahathir mentioned that two attempts have been made to repatriate some of the refugees, both have failed. “Reasons for these are obvious. No one would return if they do not feel that their safety is guaranteed.”
He, however, mentioned that the Myanmar authorities had manipulated the Rohingya issue to inside fear, hatred and violence. "Thus, merely considering the idea of granting citizenship is unacceptable. It’s obvious that Myanmar's attempt on ensuring accountability has failed. How would such an attempt work if the perpetrators responsible for the atrocities are part of the system?"
Mahathir commended the positive efforts of the OIC in addressing the Rohingya issue at the international fora. "And for the decision to bring the matter to the International Court of Justice, we hope other countries would support the OIC to ensure that the perpetrators do not get away with the heinous crimes that they have committed."
Highlighting Malaysia's humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas, Mahathir said, "We’ll continue to help the Rohingyas within our means and capacity."
Malaysia has done and will continue to do what it can. "Nevertheless we hope others would also join us and Bangladesh in our resolve to end the miseries that have befallen on the Rohingyas. We need to put an end to the crisis and we need to do it now."
Terming atrocities on Rohingyas as genocide he said, "Let’s start by calling a spade, a spade. What happened in the Rakhine state is genocide."
"What took place were the mass killings, systematic rape and other gross violation of human rights. These resulted in Rohingyas fleeing the country en masse-- most ended up in Cox's Bazar. On this, we commend Bangladesh for all it has done in hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingya refugees,’ Mhathir added.