Friday 3 August 2012

Indonesian Lawmakers, Activists Urge More Action On Rohingya

Source from Jakarta Globe, 2 Aug 2012
Government forces stood by and watched as sectarian violence erupted last month in western Myanmar and then opened fire on ethnic Rohingya as they tried to save their burning homes, a human rights group said on Wednesday.
Students from the Indonesian Muslim Student Action Union (Kammi) stage a 'Save the Muslim Rohingya' rally in Solo, Central Javam on July 31, 2012. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

In Jakarta, lawmakers and activists urged the government to send a team to help stop massacres in the country.

New York-based Human Rights Watch called for a strong international response to “atrocities” committed during last month’s bloody unrest between Rakhine State Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya.

The fighting that left at least 78 people dead has subsided but many tens of thousands remain homeless — mostly Rohingya in need of food, shelter and urgent medical care.

“The [Myanmar] government claims it is committed to ending ethnic strife and abuse, but recent events in [Rakhine] state demonstrate that state-sponsored persecution and discrimination persist,” Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch’s Asia director, said in a statement.

He urged the international community not to be “blinded by a romantic narrative of sweeping change” in the country.

The group released its report as a UN human rights envoy, Tomas Ojea Quintana, visited Rakhine state to investigate the violence, some of the deadliest sectarian bloodshed in Myanmar in years.

Quintana’s evaluation is likely to be regarded as a yardstick for measuring the reforms undertaken by President Thein Sein after Myanmar ended decades of repressive military rule.

Indonesian legislator Almuzzammil Yusuf is calling for the House of Representatives to send a delegation to Myanmar to hold a dialogue with their counterparts there on the Rohingya conflict.

Almuzzammil, a member of the Inter-parliamentary Cooperation Agency (BKSAP), said dialogue was necessary to prevent the issue from triggering worse religious and ethnic conflicts, Antara news agency reported.

“I have made the proposal to the leaders of Commission I of the House of Representatives and the BKSAP chairman,” Almuzzammil said, referring to the House body that oversees foreign affairs.

AFP, Antara, JG

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