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Myanmar like Israel in treatment of Rohingya: Envoy

Rohingya Muslims who fled from the ongoing military operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, line up for food aid at a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on September 20, 2017 [Safvan Allahverdi / Anadolu Agency]
Rohingyas, who fled from the ongoing military operations in Myanmar, line up for food aid at a refugee camp in Bangladesh on 24 September 2017 [Safvan Allahverdi/Anadolu Agency]

Myanmar is committing an act of genocide against Rohingya Muslims, Bangladesh’s ambassador to Turkey said Wednesday, Anadolu reports.

M. Allama Siddiki was speaking at a seminar in Ankara titled ‘Emerging Bangladesh: Socioeconomic Development, Relations with Turkey and Rohingya Issue’.

I would say what is the difference between Myanmar and Israel? We don’t have any diplomatic relations with Israel. We do not like and endorse their wrongdoing to the people of Palestine. Myanmar is doing the same thing to Rohingya people,

said Siddiki.

“It is like an act of genocide,” he added.

Siddiki discussed the background of the issue and praised his country’s efforts to take in Rohingya Muslims.

“We had to open the borders. They would die if we did not. But that was a very courageous thing to do,” he said.

He also praised Turkey and Jordan for their efforts in taking in Syrian refugees.

“Like Turkey and Jordan, we are sheltering people who escape atrocities,” he added.

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Siddiki said Bangladesh is not granting refugee status to Rohingya because they want them to safely return to their country as soon as possible.

“We want them to go back to Myanmar as soon as possible. We want them to voluntarily return to Myanmar in a safe condition. We want them to have Myanmar nationality in the long run.”

He also talked about bilateral relations between Turkey and Bangladesh.

“Both Turkey and Bangladesh are Sunni Muslims and attached to Sufism. This is the backbone of our relations,” he said.

Bangladesh and Turkey have been supporting one another since the Turkish War of Independence between 1919-1923, the ambassador said.

Turkey also supported the Bangladesh Liberation War, which claimed 3 million Bangladeshi lives in 1971, he added.

Siddiki also informed the audience about Bangladesh’s geography, culture, food, political system, economy and history.

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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According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience”.

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.

BangladeshIsraelMiddle EastMyanmarNewsTurkeyUN
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