Renewed Appeal for Int’l Action Against Rohingya Genocide

Iranian members of parliament attend a parliamentary session in Tehran on June 23, 2015. Iranian lawmakers passed a bill obliging the government to safeguard the country's "nuclear rights and achievements," despite talks with global powers on curbing the Islamic republic's disputed atomic programme. AFP PHOTO / BEHROUZ MEHRI

I ranian parliamentarians have called for a concerted action by international bodies to stop the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

In a recent talk with ICANA, Mojtaba Zolnouri, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said international organizations, particularly the Executive Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, must exert pressure on the Myanmar government, adding that increased pressure would eventually work.

To make the case for the campaign, he said Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in the UN blacklist for violating child rights was withdrawn after threats by Riyadh, but pursuing the matter paid off and today its name is included in the list.

“In case of Myanmar, the increased pressure would eventually work,” he said

Often described by experts as the world’s most persecuted people, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have been forced out of the country they have lived in for centuries, fleeing horrific acts of violence carried out by the military.

The exodus from Myanmar’s western Rakhine State began after Rohingya militants allegedly attacked police posts on August 25, prompting a military backlash that has sent a third of the Muslim minority population fleeing for their lives to neighboring Bangladesh.

Rohingya Muslims are an ethnic and religious minority not recognized as citizens of Myanmar. They are, in essence, stateless.

In the same vein, lawmaker Hajar Chenarani said international bodies must intervene in the matter, adding that the problem cannot be solved only through humanitarian aid or efforts by a few selected countries.

“The humanitarian catastrophe facing the Rohingya cannot be compensated by one country,” she said.

On Sept. 12, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei condemned the ongoing humanitarian crisis, stressing the need for “practical” measures against Myanmar by Muslim countries.

The Leader said such practical actions would not entail a military campaign, but the Muslim countries “should mount political, economic and trade pressure on the government of Myanmar and condemn such crimes in international circles.”

The UN human rights office said on Wednesday Myanmar forces had brutally driven out half a million Rohingyas from northern Rakhine State to Bangladesh in recent weeks, torching homes, crops and villages to prevent them from returning.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has described the government operations as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and said the action appeared to be “a cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return.”

Despite strong condemnations, no practical measures have been taken against Myanmar’s government yet.

Continued Aid Deliveries

Chenarani said an Iranian team, which had visited the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, has submitted its report to the Leader, who in turn has instructed the relevant authorities to continue sending aid for the refugees in Bangladesh.

“Food and drugs have been sent for the Rohingya, but the scale of the catastrophe calls for much more aid,” she said, adding that Iran is planning to build a field hospital for the Rohingya.

On Oct. 1, The UN warned of a humanitarian “nightmare” unfolding in Bangladesh’s refugee camps, adding that conditions are ripe for an illness like cholera to tear through the densely-populated camps. The International Committee of the Red Cross says camps are teetering on the precipice of a full-scale health disaster.

Chenarani said Iran has asked the authorities in Myanmar to grant them permission for a delegation to visit the country only to see its request rejected by the government there. “The main objective of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to stop the Muslim genocide and aid the refugees there,” she concluded.

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