Doctors seek support for Rohingya Muslims


Medics accuse international community of silence about human rights violations in Myanmar

A sick Rohingya man waited in 2014 for a pharmacy to open at an camp near Sittwe in Rakhine State, Myanmar. Credit Tomas Munita for The New York Times

By Bayram Altug

GENEVA: Rohingya Muslim doctors in Europe have described the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State as “genocide,” and have called on the international community to raise its voice against ongoing human rights violations.

“It is crucial that an international investigation commission be established,” a Switzerland-based spokeswoman for the European Rohingya Council (ERC), Anita Schug, told Anadolu Agency.

“The Myanmar state is doing everything to stall and prevent that commission from being established because they are afraid of the reality to come out,” she added.

According to Schug, the commission needs to be established to punish those responsible.

The ERC’s Germany-based vice president, Ambia Perveen, also told Anadolu Agency an investigation commission was needed to monitor the “genocide” against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

She blamed the international community for being “hypocritical”.

Turkish support

Perveen thanked Turkey for being a major supporter of Rohingya Muslims and said other Muslim countries should adopt Ankara as a role model in helping victims across the world.

Schug and Perveen are currently in Switzerland attending the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Serving at a refugee camp close to the Rakhine state capital Sittwe, the doctors told the UN session in tears that young girls and women were being systematically raped at military locked down areas in Maungdaw and Rathedaung of northern Rakhine.

Schug said at least 400 Rohingya Muslim women had been raped since 9 October 2016, adding these victims had been isolated from families and had not received any psychological help.

She also said children had died due to a lack of basic medicines.

“It is shame on the international community that children die from fever because there is no paracetamol at the camp,” Schug said.

According to Perveen, diseases like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cholera plus malnutrition had caused hundreds to die every day. She said the Sittwe camp was no different to World War II Nazi camps in Germany.

Schug added that the camp was surrounded by a wire fence, where about 120,000 Muslims are forced to live isolated from the world without any doctors or clinics.

She also blamed the international community for only focusing on the ongoing violence and not paying enough attention to other problems in the region.

Schug also said Myanmar’s government and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi had not visited the camps.

Rohingya have fled Rakhine — one of the poorest states in Myanmar — in droves for decades, with a new wave of migrations occurring since mid-2012 after communal violence broke out between ethnic Buddhists and the Muslim minority — described by the UN as one of the world’s most persecuted groups.

Security forces have been accused of gang-rape, killings, beatings, disappearances and burning villages in the Maungdaw area of northern Rakhine since October.

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THE EUROPEAN ROHINGYA COUNCIL [ERC] is an Amsterdam based European umbrella organisation in Europe.