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Oman ready to help Rohingyas

Oman observer: 

Wed, 30 January 2013

By Hasan Kamoonpuri –

MUSCAT — Omani representatives along with the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), world’s top Islamic
body, have visited Myanmar’s Rakhine state several times to survey
the fallout from deadly attacks on Rohingya Muslims.

“Oman has great concerns” about the humanitarian
situation in Rakhine, Oman Charitable Organisation (OCO) chief Ali
bin Ibrahim al Raisi, told the Observer in an exclusive interview.

Oman along with the OIC has agreed to provide
development projects in the Rakhine state and not just humanitarian
aid. The OIC is mobilising efforts to put in place a Special Fund for
reconstruction and rehabilitation of Rakhine State.

During a recent OIC fact-finding mission to Myanmar,
the OIC signed a memorandum of co-operation with Myanmar to establish
a Humanitarian Affairs Office.

“Once OIC starts working in Myanmar, the OCO will
launch a campaign in the Sultanate for involving the public in
raising funds for Rohingyas,” said Al Raisi.

“Oman is keen to build houses in Myanmar and to
invest in sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture so as to
generate jobs for the people,” he added.

As part of the OIC, Oman has been in talks with the
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She has promised to
co-operate with the OIC. All Islamic countries are keen to launch
programmes in Myanmar for the oppressed Rohingyas, he added.

At a summit in Mecca, the 57-member OIC condemned
“the continued recourse to violence by the Myanmar authorities
against the Rohingya minority and their refusal to recognise their
right to citizenship”. Myanmar in August agreed to allow the OIC to
provide aid to the region, on the condition it agreed to assist all
communities in the area.

The OIC is keen to increase economic co-operation
with Myanmar to help generate greater opportunities for its younger
generations. Suu Kyi said that Myanmar badly needs investment in
manufacturing sector as many young people in her country are without
Oman along with the OIC has condemned the killing of
Rohingyas in Myanmar and announced that OCO is ready and keen to work
in the Rakhine state to help improve its humanitarian situation,
added Ali al Raisi.

The OIC has said Rohingyas face ‘genocide’ in
Rakhine as violence against the ethnic minority rages on. The UN said
recently more than 22,000 Rohingyas have been displaced in western
Myanmar. The UN has described the “Rohingya community as the
Palestine of Asia and one of the most persecuted minorities in the

Human Rights Watch has released satellite images
showing “extensive destruction of homes and other property in the
predominantly Rohingya area”.

Myanmar’s estimated one million Rohingyas are
officially stateless, and regarded by the government of Myanmar as
illegal immigrants, rather than one of its 135 official ethnic

Last year on December 25, the UN General Assembly
issued a resolution expressing concern over the persecution of
Rohingyas. The resolution called on Myanmar’s government to
“protect all their (Rohingya minorities’) human rights, including
their right to a nationality.”

The OCO along with the OIC team in its further
visits to Myanmar would again assess the needs of humanitarian
assistance for those affected by the violence in Rakhine state and
co-ordinate with Myanmar authorities to develop a plan for the urgent
provision of this assistance.

The OIC has built an alliance between the
humanitarian organisations in the 57 member countries to undertake
practical steps on the issue of Rohingya minority. The OCO is an
active member of this alliance.

Experts say since Islam is the defender of the
oppressed people, it is incumbent on all the 57 OIC members to take
measures to help put an end to the mass murder of the Rohingya
minority in Myanmar.