Citizen commission in Bangladesh to probe Rohingya abuse


Citizens in Bangladesh on Wednesday formed a commission to investigate genocide in Myanmar's western Rakhine state which has forced thousands of Rohingya to flee their homes.

The 35-member commission is headed by a former Supreme Court Justice Shamsul Huda, and includes two former army chiefs.

Shamsuddin Chowdhry, a member of the commission, told Anadolu Agency that they will create international awareness over the issue in order to pressurize the Myanmar government.

"Our work will be to first stop the torture on Rohingya refugees, and then create a favorable environment for them to return home," he said.

He added: "Lastly, we want punishment for those who committed these crimes."

Chowdhry said the Rohingya had lived in Rakhine for a long time, but in 1982 a law stripped them of their citizenship.

"We will soon go to Cox's Bazar [where most Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar live] to take signatures and statements of the people who were victimized," he said.

He added that they might go to Geneva in December, and request the UN and other humanitarian organizations to form an international inquiry commission.

Chowdhry said that if the international community ignores Rohingya Muslims, they may resort to militancy and terrorism-something that will affect all of Southeast Asia and the world.

Since Aug. 25, some 519,000 Rohingya have crossed from Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has raised the issue at the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

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