PETALING JAYA - The emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Foreign Ministers this Thursday in Kuala Lumpur will discuss restoring the status of the Rohingya in Myanmar.
OIC Special Envoy for Myanmar Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the main objective was to create protection for the ethnic minority, whose rights as citizens have been denied.
"Malaysia proposed the meeting because of the urgency of the matter, and not because we want to interfere in Myanmar's internal affairs. Neither do we want to confront the Myanmar government.
"This is not a communal issue as claimed by the government but rather a religious issue because they (the Myanmarese) are targeting Muslims in their conflict with the Rohingya," he told Bernama here today.
The ongoing troubles in the Rakhine state had caused thousands of Rohingya to flee Myanmmar with reports of atrocities, including rape and murder. Whole villages are said to have been burned to the ground, in some cases with the residents still in their houses.
The actions of the Myanmmar security forces against the Rohingya were a gross violation of human rights, Syed Hamid said, adding that the conflict could threaten the peace, security and economy of the region and encourage radicalism.
"We support the Myanmar government's effort to transform the country to become a much better nation under the new leadership. But the transformation must be inclusive of all sectors of its society.
"They must acknowledge the existence of the Rohingya, whose citizenship was stripped for no reason. They are the natives of the country and, without that recognition, the problem will continue to overflow to neighbouring states," he said.
The former foreign minister also expressed concern over the Myanmar government's refusal to allow the Food Flotilla Mission to enter the country to distribute humanitarian aid to the Rohingya.
"They have allowed the humanitarian mission from Indonesia to enter. Why can't they allow this flotilla mission to enter as well?
"They must understand that the flotilla is organised by a non-governmental organisation and will include NGOs from other countries. It is not organised by the Malaysian government," he added.
Syed Hamid also said that the Asean community, which Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has referred to as a family, must respect and understand its obligations not only under the Asean Charter but also international law.