Doha, October 04 (QNA) – The second meeting of humanitarian organizations on the humanitarian situation of Muslims in Myanmar, organized by the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC)in collaboration with the Qatar Charity, began here today with the participation of about 30 local, regional and international organizations.
The meeting, the second of its kind after the Kuala Lumpur meeting which was held in last August, will discuss a strategic plan for humanitarian intervention in Rakhine State in Myanmar in addition to ways to strengthen coordination between the organizations interested in the issue of the Rohingya Muslims, take practical steps in this context and review reports of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation and other humanitarian organizations about the situation there.
Addressing the meeting’s opening session, Qatar Charity Chief Executive Officer Youssuf Ahmed Al-Kuwari said “on behalf of Qatar Charity which today has the honour of hosting the second meeting of humanitarian organizations on the humanitarian situation in the state of Rakhan, Myanmar, I welcome your presence in Qatar, your second home, and ask the Almighty to crown your efforts in relieving our affected Rohingya Muslim brothers and standing by their side through their severe humanitarian plight with success.
“Qatar Charity by hosting this meeting, organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, demonstrates the Charity s awareness of the importance of coordinating the efforts of charitable and humanitarian organizations in Islamic countries, in strengthening cooperation among them, especially in the field of relief, and in contributing to the support and follow up efforts in delivering aid to the Muslims Rohingya in Myanmar, so as to alleviate their suffering during this humanitarian crisis. We hope that the meeting will result in practical recommendations for their support, and move the attention of international public opinion to the deteriorating humanitarian situation there, under the umbrella of this prominent Islamic Organization. We at Qatar Charity decided to cooperate with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in the same vein, when we hosted the Third Conference of the Humanitarian institutions of the Member States of the Organization in Doha in 2010”.
Al-Kuwari added that Qatar Charity, in its virtue and duty as an Islamic leader for humanitarian action in the State of Qatar, strived to have a field presence inside Myanmar, to provide urgent relief aid, and when the complex laws of that country prevented us from have such field presence, we cooperated with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stationed there, in the implementation of the humanitarian project that is now underway ; providing support for the Rohingya refugees on the Bengali-Burmese border through our office in Bangladesh, and also participating in the first consultative meeting on the humanitarian situation of the Arkan Muslims, held in Kuala Lumpur.
“We were chosen as a member of the Committee on Humanitarian Affairs and Community Development as recommended by the meeting. Qatar Charity will continue, God willing, its tireless efforts to get inside Burma, under the umbrella of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, using the QAR 6 million earmarked for the first stage of these efforts,” he added.
Concluding, Al-Kuwair said “the duty of responsibility requires everyone to do their best for the benefit of our Muslim brothers in Burma, who are subjected to severe injustice and harm. Therefore, I urge the conferees in this meeting to come up with practical recommendations that can open new horizons for their support and assistance, and overcome all the obstacles that have so far prevented this.”
The topic of Muslims in Myanmar is one of the most complex among humanitarian issues as it constitutes a source of concern for the whole world, specifically Muslim communities, since the middle of the last decade, posited Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ambassador Ataulmannan Bakhit.
The OIC Assistant Secretary-General pointed out to the increasing attention towards the issue since last June, following the bloody confrontations at Rakhine State where human rights were subject to major violations.
The problem with the Rohingya people is their lack of identity, as not only were their lands and wealth taken away from them, but also their names and identity for more than 50 years, he said adding that they have been named Rohingya at times and in other instances Begals or boat people. Today, they are neither refugees, emigrants, nor citizens, he remarked.
Ambassador Bakhit called for holding this unique matter in seriousness and encouraged Muslims all over the world to show interest, lending a helping hand to these people as an obligation designated for every one of them.
The Assistant Secretary-General pointed out the OIC’s efforts towards the Rohingya people either through international mobilization standing up for their just cause and supporting their rights to an identity and land as was the case in the past, or opening a communication channel with the government of Myanmar to respond to the legitimate rights of these people. The dialogue with the current government is advancing well in light of the policy of openness it adopted, he added.
The OIC Assistant Secretary-General also highlighted its efforts towards uniting Muslims in Myanmar, which has taken several years and resulted in the establishment of the Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU), acknowledged by the Organization as the voice of the Rohingya people. In the same context, he indicated that the Islamic Summit held in the holy city of Makkah last Ramadan, which addressed the situation of Muslims in Myanmar, stressed the importance of strengthening the Union.
Bakhit drew attention towards the ethnic clashes witnessed by Rakhine State since last June which led to a major humanitarian crisis harming all groups, but mainly the Rohingya people. The Assistant Secretary-General indicated that the emigration of around 100,000 from their homes worsens their humanitarian conditions due to downpours in the region.
The OIC Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs thanked the Government of the State of Qatar for the substantial and continuous support provided for humanitarian action in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation since its early years, which contributed to accelerating the march of human experience, stressing that Qatar has always been a major donor to the Department of Humanitarian Affairs and a solid advocate for projects in all the organization’s platforms.
He also expressed appreciation for the Qatar Charity and its humanitarian role as a pioneer organization in the humanitarian activity, valuing, at the same time, its great cooperation with the Department of Humanitarian Affairs of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation.
For his part, former Indonesian Vice-President Yusuf Kalla who is also Chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross Society spoke about the nature and roots of the conflict in the territory of Rakhine, warning of its spillover to of Myanmar’s neighboring countries.
He stressed that the aim of humanitarian organizations is to the Rohingya people to live in peace, harmony and stability with all the groups in Myanmar, saying ” political pressure on the government is important but it is not easy to change the complex situation in the country.”
Kalla, meanwhile underlined the importance of helping all parties there to live in peace and contribute to the reduction of the accumulated economic crises in Rakhine State, the country’s poorest state as well as its the extreme sensitivity to problems.
The presence of Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other international organizations and humanitarian associations in Myanmar is of great importance to improve the lives of the people there and contribute to changing the thinking of the groups that inhabit the area in order to spread peace and stability, calling for more efforts and humanitarian support to Muslims in Myanmar of whom 90 percent suffer from extreme poverty and lack of services in the area. He stressed the need to take practical measures to bring back the displaced people to their villages.
For his part, Executive Director of the Public Affairs at Qatar Charity Ali bin Rashid Al MahrI Al-Mohannadi underlined the importance of today’s meeting for the continuation of efforts aimed to remove obstacles preventing the humanitarian associations’ organizations from providing support for the Muslims of Myanmar.
He praised the role of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation in dealing with the issue of Myanmar’s Muslims and other issues and topics of concern to the Muslim world, as well as its role in coordinating the humanitarian work of the charitable organizations in the OIC’s member states.
The meeting is scheduled to conclude later in the day with the announcement of final recommendations regarding humanitarian intervention, indicative plans and intervention plans that have been agreed upon.(QNA)