The Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa (MJC) joins interfaith leaders, human rights activists and people of conscience in expressing our anger at authentic and credible reports that have emerged from Myanmar regarding the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya, a minority Muslim ethnic civilian population.
In recent months, about 200,000 Rohingya have been internally displaced with more than 300,000 have fled to Bangladesh amid an alleged military crackdown on insurgents in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state. Amnesty International has accused the Myanmar army of gross human rights violations.
Hundreds of buildings have been destroyed in at least 17 regions across the Rakhine state since August 25, including some 700 structures that appeared to have been burned down, satellite imagery analysed by Human Rights Watch illustrated. They add that the Rohingya are being targeted in a campaign described as “ethnic cleansing”.
Further atrocities include forceful seizure of babies from their mother’s arms and throwing them into rivers, rape of women and girls, live human mutilation and beheadings evidenced by horrific credible graphic images. These ghastly acts are being perpetrated against the Rohingya by the Myanmar Military Junta in Rakhine State, aided and abetted by ultra-nationalist right wing Buddhist groups and Rakhine Buddhists.
As South Africans who experienced the tyranny of Apartheid, we will not sit idly by when human rights violations or the curtailment of all forms of freedom occur in another country.
The MJC (SA) calls on you to join the march to Parliament to take a stand against the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people. The protest will be attended by several faith organisations, including the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum, Cape Town Interfaith Initiative, the Worker’s International Vanguard League, COSATU and other human rights organisations. The march begins at 11 am from Kaizergracht in Cape Town on Wednesday, September 13.
Protect the Rohingya will protest at the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar in Pretoria, on Friday September 15 at 3 PM.
- that the South African Government intervenes and take a decisive stand against Myanmar for these human rights violations which have continued for so many decades by withdrawing our diplomatic staff from Myanmar and to expel the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar from South Africa.
- We call for the end of atrocities and human rights violations at the hands of the Myanmar military, unfettered access to affected areas by aid organisations and most importantly the reinstatement of citizenship, movement and all the rights to Rohingya.
- We call for the implementation of recommendations of Rakhine Commission Report and that the United Nations Fact Finding Mission be given access to affected areas to carry out their investigation.
- We demand that those responsible for human rights violations be investigated and held accountable.
International human rights organisations and prominent activists including Archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu have said that the failure to act on the Rohingya crisis would be a failure on the part of Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as a Nobel laureate representing peace and the fight for human rights.
Silence and inaction will lead to starvation, disease and ultimately the genocide of the Rohingya.
Shaykh Irafaan Abrahams
President of the Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa.
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