In awake of the recent violence in Myanmar’s Rakhaine state that killed 400 Rohingya Muslims and forced almost 4 lakh to flee and take shelter in Bangladesh, 12 Nobel Laureates including Prof Muhammad Yunus and 15 other eminent global citizens have sent an open letter to the President and Member States of UN Security Council to intervene immediately to end the crisis.
More than 370,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence since August 25, according to the United Nations, an average of almost 20,000 a day.
The UN Security Council called an emergency closed-door meeting Wednesday to discuss the deteriorating situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
The letter starts with thanking the UNSC for holding meeting on Rohingya crisis.
“The human tragedy and crimes against humanity unfolding in the Arakan region of Myanmar need your immediate intervention. This is one of the decisive moments when bold and decisive actions are needed promptly when it is still possible to get it resolved.”
“According to different organizations, recent military offensive by the Myanmar Army in Rakhine State has led to the killing of hundreds of Rohingya people. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Complete villages have been burned, women raped, many civilians arbitrarily arrested, and children killed. Crucially, humanitarian aid organisations have been almost completely denied access, creating an appalling humanitarian crisis in an area already extremely poor,” reads the letter.
The letter reminded that last year the Nobel winners denounced the previous spate of violence late last and wrote to UN to intervene but the situation has not improved.
“We urge you to take decisive actions to stop the violence against innocent civilians and bring permanent peace in Rakhine state,” it said.
The letter said, “We call on UNSC to intervene immediately by using all available means. We request you to take immediate action for cessation of indiscriminate military attack on innocent civilians that is forcing them to leave their home and flee country to turn into stateless people.”
The Nobel laureates urged the UN to persuade Myanmar government to take immediate steps to implement the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission which the Myanmar government established in 2016 under the pressure of international community.
The Commission, mostly comprised of Myanmar citizens, chaired by Kofi Annan, recommended providing citizenship to the Rohingyas, to allow them freedom of movement, rights and equality before the law, to ensure communal representation, lack of which affects Muslims disproportionately, to facilitate UN assistance in ensuring safety and security of returning people.
The Nobel laureates and Eminem citizens also recommended to implement the Commission recommendations.
The suggestions include reappointing the Commission members immediately to constitute an Implementation Committee to oversee the implementation of the recommendations, taking immediate steps to stop the outflow of refugees, inviting international observers to visit vulnerable areas on a regular basis, inviting back the refugees who already left the country, building camps within Myanmar for the returning refugees to facilitate their rehabilitation with UN financing and supervision, giving them the citizenship as prescribed in the Commission Report under the exclusive authority of the Implementation Committee and ensuring political freedom and freedom of movement.
The letter was signed by 12 Nobel laureates including 2006 Nobel Peace prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, 1984 Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai, 1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine Sir Richard J. Roberts and others.
The Eminem global citizens include Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; former Secretary-General of ASEAN Surin Pitsuwan, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, human rights activist Kerry Kennedy and others.