Rohingya Muslims: Necessity of Finding Quick Solution

By Dr. Fahd Bin Hamoud Al- Anzi

The Rohingya question is an outstanding case and present evidence of the powerlessness of the international community to stand in the face of the humanitarian violations and horrible massacres inflicted on the Rohingya minority in Myanmar. The international community is still unable to find a just solution that preserves the humanitarian principles, concepts of justice and ethical values common to all humanity of which many states feel proud and include in their constitutions and international covenants and conventions. However, most regrettably, reality is different. The International community remains incapable of preserving the rights of this Muslim minority, stop the massacres and savage violations against the Rohingya Muslim people, and restrain those who are behind these violations.

The Rohingya minority have been deported from their land and denied any rights relating to their homeland Arakan as well as their right to self-determination in it. The Rohingya, or the Bormanion, as we call them in Saudi Arabia, are the indigenous people of the Arakan Kingdom in South –East Asia which was occupied by Burma and annexed to it as one of its regions whose inhabitants converted to Islam in the second century hijri through the Arab traders.

The suffering of the Rohingya Muslims began in 1784 AD when the Buddhist Buddha Baya occupied Arakan region and annexed it to Burma. Following this historical catastrophe, numbers of the Rohingya population started to emigrate from Burma. Their migration, or flight, went in the direction of neighboring Muslim States such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Thailand and some of Gulf Arab States. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been hosting the Rohingya since 1948. Their number has reached now, 300.000, and they are mostly to be found in Makkah Al-Mukarama region. 

The entire world has witnessed the most painful violations against the Rohingya in Myanmar, such as murder, dispersion, genocide and burning of houses. The Rohingya were subjected to brutal actions which shocked human communities of different cultures and orientations. World mass media have brought such shameful actions to the whole globe. Human Rights Watch Organization has directly accused government officials in Burma of committing acts of ethnic cleansing and massacres of the Muslim Rohingya.

A report of the international mission has confirmed that the armed forces in Myanmar burned complete villages. Several cases of random killing, mass rape of women and attack on children have been recorded, as well as cases of forced disappearances, in addition to other forms of violence, suppression and enslavement of the minorities in Burma which the report described as tantamount to collective genocide. Even the former presidency of Burma considered the sole available solution to the unrecognized Rohingya minority is to collect them in refugee camps or deport them abroad. In an official statement the former presidency said that it was impossible to accept the Rohingya, who illegally entered the country; and that they are not part of our ethnicity. This reflects the official position of the Myanmar government which resulted in the commission of vicious actions in an extreme manner.  

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia denounced this position and demanded the government of Myanmar to grant total citizenship rights to the Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine State, restore their rights to vote in elections, allow their right to define their ethnic identity, and take the necessary measures to prevent their exploitation, including human trafficking; and to cooperation with the international community to ensure return of all Muslim refugees and those dispersed from their houses. Also ensure cooperation with all parties and allow total access of humanitarian assistance to them. 

It is demanded to amend the citizenship law of 1982 to include all religious and ethnic minorities, including the Rohingya, in order to ensure total and equal citizenship rights. This is in addition to eliminating all policies that target the Rohingya in Rakhine State, especially, those policies that violate basic human rights. The Kingdom expressed regret for non- cooperation by the government of Myanmar, and called for cooperation and allow the UN Special Rapporteur, Yangee Lee, to enter the country and have safe access to all affected areas.

The position of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the Rohingya Crisis is clear and specific: demanding a halt to the brutal actions and violation of human rights. The Kingdom has employed its diplomatic abilities and capabilities in International fora in order to exercise pressure on the government of Burma to stop all the savage acts against the Rohingya. This is not strange because the cause of the Muslim minority in Myanmar is a priority issue that concerns the Kingdom in International fora, and in the field of defending issues of Muslims and Muslim minorities, as well as defending humanitarian causes wherein the Rohingya cause, constitutes all these religious and humanitarian dimensions.

The Kingdom also denounced the non-recognition of the Rohingya Muslims as citizens since 1982 on the pretext that they are illegal Bengali immigrants. In the framework of humanitarian assistance, the Kingdom has offered them the amount of 50 million US dollar to alleviate their suffering following their massacres on the hands of extremist Buddhists.

It is a well-established fact that the forced migration and violations against the Rohingya minority is still continuing despite international resolutions that demand the government of Myanmar to provide the necessary atmosphere, stop violations, and cease the forced migration of the Muslim Rohingya minority to neighboring countries, as well as facilitate their return to their country, especially that the MOU signed between the UN High Commissioner For Refugees, and the UNDP, in early June, 2018, and the Myanmar government, makes it necessary for Myanmar to find a solution to the crisis and to voluntary return of the Rohingya refugees to their homes without any hindrance, and that the Myanmar government should abide by implement this Memorandum, and put an end to the plight of the Rohingya refugees. This is in addition to the request for the international community to find a humanitarian solution to the Rohingya that protects them from acts of violence and ethnic cleansing, and leads to their recognition as citizens with full rights.

Dr. Fahd Bin Hamoud Al- Anzi, Member of the Saudi Shourah Council  

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