ANKARA – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has expressed “deep concern” over the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, adding that the violence “reached the level of ethnic cleansing”.
In a declaration on Sunday from the 45th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the OIC also condemned “the illegal policies and practices of Israel, the occupying power against the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.”
The OIC called “for the complete cessation of all Israeli violations of international law, including an immediate end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, all colonial settlement activities, demolition of Palestinian homes, [and the] killing, injuring, and detention of Palestinian civilians including children.” It further urged Israeli officials to release all Palestinian prisoners and detainees.
The declaration condemned the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an “illegal move,” saying: “We invite all members of the international community to remain committed to the status of Al-Quds al-Sharif [Jerusalem] and all related UN Resolutions, in line with the relevant decisions of the Final Communique of the OIC Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul [last December] and Istanbul Declaration on ‘Freedom for Al-Quds’.”
Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump sparked international outrage when he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and vowed to relocate Washington’s embassy to the city — an event now expected as early as next week.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Palestine-Israel conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — occupied by Israel since 1967 — might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.
On violence against Rohingya Muslims, the OIC said: “We express deep concern over the recent systematic brutal acts perpetrated by security forces against the Rohingya Muslim Community in Myanmar that have reached the level of ethnic cleansing, which constitute a serious and blatant violation of international law.”
The bloc reaffirmed solidarity and expressed appreciation to Bangladesh on dealing with the Rohingya refugee influx.
“We underline the importance of OIC member states continuing to remain engaged in the UN system including in the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council as well as with other relevant international organizations to address the massive human rights violations of the Rohingya Muslims, taking into account recent developments,” the statement added.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 Rohingya, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.