Malaysian PM tells Burma to ‘Stop the Killing’ in Arakan State

By Reuters 19 January 2017

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called on Burma on Thursday to stop all discrimination and attacks on Rohingya Muslims, and urged the world’s Islamic countries to act to end an unfolding “humanitarian tragedy.”

“The killing must stop. The violation of women and girls must stop,” Najib, the leader of Muslim-majority Malaysia told a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called by Malaysia to discuss the Rohingya.

“The persecution of your fellow men and women, simply on the grounds that they are Muslim, must stop,” he said.

Refugees, residents, and human rights groups say Burma forces have committed summary executions, raped women and burned homes.

But the Burma government led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has denied the accusations, saying many of the reports are fabricated. It insists the strife in Arakan State, also known as Rakhine State, is an internal matter.

Najib, who joined protesters in Kuala Lumpur last month calling for foreign intervention to stop “genocide,” said Burma must act.

“We call on the government of Burma to cease all discriminatory actions and attacks against the Rohingyas immediately, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice,” he said.

Malaysia summoned Burma’s ambassador last year to protest against the treatment of Rohingya, breaking a tradition of non-intervention by members of the Association of South East Asian Nations in each other’s affairs.

Najib said it would be a disgrace if the Southeast Asian group did not live up to it principles and do its utmost to “avert the catastrophe that has been unfolding.”

He told the fellow Muslim countries of the OIC they could not “stand by and do nothing”.

“It is incumbent on us all to do what we can to save them from the humanitarian tragedy they are suffering,” he said.

The OIC represents 57 states with a population of more than 1.6 billion people, and acts as the collective voice of the Muslim world.

Najib called on Burma to provide unimpeded access for humanitarian aid to the affected areas and to facilitate the return of refugees.

He said Malaysia would give 10 million ringgit (US$2.25 million) for the humanitarian efforts, and send a food flotilla. No further details were made available.

About 56,000 Rohingya live in Malaysia having fled and unrest and persecution in Burma.

The OIC’s special envoy to Burma said this week the United Nations should intervene to avert genocide.

OIC Secretary General Yousef Al Othaimeen said Burma must prevent “ongoing discrimination and the unwarranted systematic abuse against the Rohingya.”

Malaysia’s top counter-terrorism official has said Burma faces a growing danger of attacks by foreign militants in support of Rohingyas.