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Monday, 11 September 2017 09:24

Mass protests across Asia over Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya Muslims

Political and Islamic groups, along with other civil society organizations, joined protests in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka Friday to urge Myanmar to "stop committing genocide" and take back those who have sought refuge elsewhere.

 

Protests also took place in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Marchers at a rally in Dhaka expressed their outrage at reports of abuse coming from Myanmar.

Over a thousand Muslim devotees belonging to the organization Islamic Movement Bangladesh joined a rally in the capital's downtown Paltan area after Friday's noon prayer.

The movement's leaders demanded the immediate deployment of UN peacekeepers in Rakhine state and the implementation of the recommendations made by a commission led by former UN head Kofi Annan, which warned unrest in the state could spiral out of control unless concrete action is taken soon.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which also organized rallies in Dhaka and elsewhere, has urged the country's government to "force Myanmar to take back the Rohingya."

Dhaka's Buddhist community also protested Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya Friday, and warned the crisis was being used to inflame feelings against Buddhists in Bangladesh.

Hard-line Buddhist groups in Myanmar have been accused of inciting racial hatred against Rohingya.

Many protesters in Bangladesh and elsewhere singled out Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi for criticism over her handling of the Rohingya crisis and have called for her Nobel Prize to be withdrawn.

Outrage over landmines

Outrage has been growing in Bangladesh over the continued exodus of Rohingya into the country, and recent reports of landmines being placed on the border in the path of refugees.

The Bangladesh government summoned the Myanmar ambassador Wednesday to raise concerns about the reports, which include stories of Rohingya being crippled after stepping on the hidden mines while making their way to safety across the border.

The former political prisoner has repeatedly come under criticism for her lack of action to help the Rohingya, a stark contrast to her previous image as a champion of human rights.

On Friday, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu joined fellow Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai in criticizing Suu Kyi.

"I am ... breaking my vow of silence on public affairs out of profound sadness about the plight of the Muslim minority in your country, the Rohingya," Tutu wrote in an open letter, posted on his official Twitter.

In a statement Friday, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged Myanmar to implement the Annan commission's recommendations.

At least 270,000 Rohingya have fled northern Myanmar into Bangladesh in the past two weeks, according to the United Nations refugee agency, roughly a third of all Rohingya living in the predominantly Buddhist country. More than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence, the UN estimates.

Darul Ihsan Media Desk

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