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Religious leaders and civil society demand DIRCO get tough on Rohingya crisis

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Muslim civil society organisations have urged the South African government to place diplomatic pressure on Myanmar to resolve the crisis and return citizenship rights to the Rohingya.

The group comprising of the secretary of Jamiatul Ulama South Africa Moulana Ebrahim Bham, secretary general of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) Shaykh Isgaak Taliep and Advocate Shabnam Mayet met with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) this week to highlight the genocide being committed against the Rohingya Muslims of Arakan, Burma.

A presentation was made to DIRCO regarding the current situation and a written submission which included several demands was handed over to Deputy Director General for Asia and Middle East Affairs Professor Sooklal.

Moulana Bham says South Africa must call for all basic freedoms, including freedom of movement, marriage, education, healthcare and peaceful-living, and the lifting of all aid restrictions on Rohingya in Rakhine State.

“South Africa must support an independent United Nations investigation into the violence against the Rohingya and urge Myanmar to ensure that the military immediately ceases its continuing atrocities against the Rohingya population of Rakhine State.”

Ml Bham says the demands also include a call for the lifting of all blockades on Rohingya areas including those within the military’s ‘operation zone’

“We urge Myanmar to allow humanitarian aid and medical organizations to offer their food and services to the Rohingya without any restrictions.”

Ml Bham says DIRCO has given assurances that these matters would be raised with their counterparts in the diplomatic corps and made a commitment to raise the sentiments expressed by Muslim civil society organizations in South Africa at upcoming forums with foreign ministers from the region.

[Source: Radio Islam – Faizel Patel]
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