Sunday, February 18, 2018 | ePaper

Rohingyas face systematic atrocities: Malaysian PM

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Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks to journalists during the deployment of humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees to Chittagong.

AFP, Malaysia :
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday said Rohingya Muslims face systematic violence including torture, rape and murder in Myanmar.
Predominantly Muslim Malaysia has spoken out strongly against mostly Buddhist Myanmar over its treatment of its Rohingya minority since violence erupted last October.
In the past 15 days, nearly 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh after raids by Rohingya militants triggered a Myanamr security forces crackdown in Rakhine state.
"Based on the reports we have received, (the Rohingya) are discriminated and no mercy is accorded to them," he told reporters at the Subang Airforce base on the outskirts of the capital Kuala Lumpur.
"Actually, it is done in a planned manner so that they are tortured, discriminated, killed and raped," he added.
Earlier Najib witnessed the deployment of two airforce cargo planes with food and medical supplies to the port city of Chittagong in Bangladesh.
"We are sending two planes with biscuits, rice and soap. Malaysia will do whatever it can to help since this is a huge disaster," he said.
Najib also said a reconnaissance team would arrive in Dhaka on Monday consisting of diplomats and military officers to identify further assistance needed by the Rohingya.
Malaysia's armed forces chief said Saturday that Kuala Lumpur would provide a 200-bed military field hospital in Bangladesh if the government there granted permission.
Describing Myanmar's inaction to halt the violence against innocent civilians as "rather disappointing", Najib said he will raise the Rohingya humanitarian tragedy with President Donald Trump on September 12 during an official visit to the White House.
"We have to help because the Rohingya tragedy has reached terrible proportions," he said.
On Friday, the powerful youth wing of Najib's dominant Malaysia's ruling party led a noisy street protest urging Kuala Lumpur to sever diplomatic ties with Yangon.
Malaysia on Tuesday summoned the Myanmar ambassador to voice its "deep concern" over the situation in Rakhine state, where witnesses said entire villages have been burned.
Over 1,000 people-more than twice the government's total estimate-may already have been killed in Rakhine, mostly Rohingya, said Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar.
As of June this year, there are 59,100 Rohingya refugees registered with the UN Refugee Agency in Malaysia.
The volatile Rakhine, located northwest of Myanmar, has been the scene of communal violence since 2012. Many of the Muslims have lost their lives while tens of thousands have been displaced as a result of attacks by Buddhists. The refugees largely live in camps in dire conditions.
Rakhine has also been under a military siege since October 2016, when the government used a purported deadly militant attack on border guards back then as a pretext to enforce the siege. There have been numerous eyewitness accounts of summary executions, rapes, and arson attacks by security forces against the Muslims since the crackdown began.
The UN has already described Rohingya Muslims as the "most persecuted minority group in the world."
Myanmar's government denies full citizenship to the Rohingya, branding them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Dhaka, in turn, regards the desperate refugees as Myanmarese and harshly pushes them back. The Rohingya, however, track their ancestors many generations back in Myanmar.

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