Rohingya plight challenges our conscience: Pakistan FM


Pakistan's foreign minister Monday added his voice to the growing chorus of criticism at the ongoing violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, stressing that their plight is a challenge to the conscience of the international community.

Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who took his post last month, expressed support for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) call for immediate and effective action to bring an end to all human rights violations against innocent unarmed Rohingya Muslims, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

He also supported the recommendations of the commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to address the issues of citizenship, freedom of movement, internally displaced persons, unhindered humanitarian and media access, provision of education, health, and other development requirements as well as urgent and sustained action to prevent violence, maintain peace, foster reconciliation, and offer a sense of hope to the Rohingya.

"Violence and serious human right violations of the Rohingya Muslims as well as violations of international humanitarian law are deplorable," Asif added.

He also expressed concern over the spread of hate speech and incitement to violence, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslims and members of national ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities.

Asif called for effective measures to prevent the recurrence of such violence, providing security to all and upholding the rights of each individual to live and move without fear and discrimination.

"​Pakistan is committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya Muslims to alleviate their suffering", he asserted.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled violence in Myanmar in recent weeks. A total of 87,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since security forces launched an operation against their community in neighboring Myanmar on Aug. 25, the United Nations said on Monday.

Media reports said Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force, displacing thousands of Rohingya villagers and destroying their homes with mortars and machine guns.

The region has seen tensions simmer between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

A crackdown launched last October in Maungdaw, where Rohingya make up the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations and crimes against humanity by security forces.

The UN documented mass gang-rape, killings -- including infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people were slain during the crackdown.

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