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Syria, Myanmar to top Makkah Summit agenda

Friday August 03, 2012 11:57:20 AM, IINA

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Jeddah: Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on Tuesday while welcoming the call by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to hold the Makkah summit said that the tragic situations in Syria and the plight of Myanmar Muslims will top the agenda.


“The tragic situation in Syria and the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar will figure on top of the agenda of the summit,” he said at a press conference held in the OIC headquarters here yesterday.


The summit to be held in Makkah on Aug. 14-15 to discuss the grave situation in a number of Muslim countries and chalk out ways to solve them is being called to intensify efforts to contain division and dissension among Muslims as well as to strengthen Islamic unity and solidarity.


King Abdullah has invited Muslim heads of state and leaders to attend the conference.


Ihsanoglu also unveiled plans of OIC to raise $500 million in aid from member countries to help the Syrian people who have been displaced in the current conflict.


The humanitarian crisis in Syria has grown to such dimensions that at least $500 million in aid is required to meet the needs of the Syrian people, he said in an appeal to donors.

Syria is in the throes of a revolt against the government of President Bashar Al-Assad, whose efforts to crush the uprising by force have driven thousands of civilians from their homes, many of them into Syria’s neighbors.


“We are calling for increased humanitarian efforts and cooperation between international and regional organizations in order to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to the Syrian people in Syria and in neighboring countries,” he said.


OIC chief urged the Muslim community around the world to give political, humanitarian and financial aid to the victims of violence in northwest Myanmar.


“This is a large humanitarian crisis but unfortunately the international and Muslim communities are mostly unaware of the dimensions. In this holy month I call upon all the Muslims…to extend aid for this issue,” he said.

Longstanding tensions between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas boiled over in Myanmar’s Rakhine state early last month, resulting in a series of arson and machete attacks in which the authorities say 77 people were killed and more than 100 wounded.


The violence has affected both Rohingyas and ethnic Rakhines, but rights groups have accused police and troops of disproportionate use of force and arrests of Rohingyas in the wake of the riots.


The riots followed two incidents in the same state: the gang rape and murder of a Rakhine woman – for which three Rohingya youths were sentenced to death – and the vigilante killing of 10 Muslims travelling on a bus less than a week later.


Nearly 5,000 homes have been torched and tens of thousands of people displaced. Myanmar’s government regards the estimated 800,000 Rohingyas as illegal immigrants, though Rohingya activists say their lineage in the region dates back centuries.

“There is displacement where tens of thousands of people lost their homes. There is a great need to house them, feed them, help them medically…There is a need for political and humanitarian aid. There is also a need for financial aid,” Ihsanoglu said.


The political aid would consist of diplomatic representations to the Myanmar government on behalf of the Rohingyas, he said.


“We asked member states, who have embassies in Myanmar, to call the government and ask them to improve their treatment of those people", he said.


The OIC will hold a consultative meeting in Kuala Lumpur on August 3 to determine possible ways to deliver aid to affected people in Myanmar and refugees from the violence who fled to neighboring countries, Ihsanoglu said.



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