By Ayhan Simsek
International experts and activists on Wednesday called for stronger pressure on Myanmar authorities to end repression and violence against Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim community in the country.
Speaking at "Rohingya Crisis and Solutions", an international conference, in Cologne, Germany, Australian politician Philip Ruddock proposed international sanctions against Myanmar’s military authorities, after their brutal crackdown on Rohingya.
“I think there needs to be absolute determination on the part of the international community to bring this to an end….and the only organization that can do that in my view is the United Nations Security Council,” Ruddock said.
Ruddock, who served as the Father of the Australian Parliament from 1998-2016, underlined that it was international pressure which forced regimes like Iran or North Korea to take steps for a diplomatic solution after tensions with the rest of the world.
“I hope that the world community will say enough is enough.
“I hope all these permanent members of the UN Security Council will act as one,” he said.
Since August last year, some 750,000 Rohingya Muslims fled the country amid a brutal crackdown by the Myanmar security forces.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.
Professor Abid Bahar from Dawson College, Canada, accused Myanmar’s military for brutal policies against the Rohingya, in order to strengthen their political and economic hold of the country.
“The military controls the country. And they are making Rohingya a scapegoat,” he said.
Bahar backed calls for international sanctions on the regime to end repressive policies and violence against Rohingya Muslims.
“If we cannot have collective pressure, I think individual countries can go for sanction against Burma [Myanmar], Burmese regime,” he said.
Syed Hamid Albar, former foreign minister of Malaysia called for an arms embargo on the Myanmar military to increase pressure on the regime.
“We want to see Myanmar peaceful and stable. We do not want to isolate Myanmar, but it must comply with its international obligations,” he stressed.
Kemal Ergun, president of the Turkish-Muslim group IGMG, which co-hosted the international conference, condemned the regime for “genocidal policies” against the Rohingya people.
“Not only Muslims, but also other human rights activists, including Buddhists, are struggling against this genocide. Our conference brings together activists and experts from all over the world,” he said.
Ergun underlined that IGMG and charity group HASENE will continue providing aid to Rohingya people, and support social and educational projects for them.