Myanmar: Muslims form multi-ethnic consultative committee
By Md. Kamruzzaman
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA): Muslims in Myanmar from various ethnic backgrounds have formed the Muslims of Myanmar Multi-ethnic Consultative Committee (MMMCC) to restore democracy and justice in the country and protect the legitimate rights of all Muslim ethnic groups in the country, according to official sources.
The committee will work to achieve five basic objectives, including “to clarify and obtain assurances from the National Unity Government (NUG) regarding the policies towards Myanmar Muslims, Rohingya and other ethnic groups,” it said Saturday in a statement on its official Facebook page.
The NUG was established in April by members of the National League For Democracy (NLD) party led by Myanmar’s State Counsellor and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in opposition to military rule.
Myanmar’s military staged a coup on Feb. 1 this year, overthrowing the democratically elected NLD party government led by President Win Myint and Suu Kyi and raising discontent among the people.
The military also launched a brutal crackdown against anti-coup demonstrators as they once perpetrated against the minority Rohingya Muslims in August 2017. Nearly 900 civilians, including 70 children, have been killed so far, according to media reports.
The MMMCC will “carry out firm resistance against the dictatorship and work towards a federal democratic country which gives equal rights to every citizen by joining hands with an alliance that shares similar values and objectives,” according to its statement.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, MMMCC spokesperson Ko Kyaw Soe Win said the committee is “inclusive” of all ethnic Muslim minorities including Rohingya.
Controversial 1982 Citizenship law
“This committee’s aims and objectives are first to identify the policy of the National Unity Government towards the Muslim population across Burma,” said Win, using another name for Myanmar.
“Then we expect the NUG government to abolish the controversial 1982 Citizenship Law, which has denied the centuries-old legitimacy of ethnic Muslims,” he said, calling it “a Nazi-type law.”
“We also expect equal rights and basic human rights guarantees for the Muslim population in Burma under a new regime.”
Expressing a commitment to work with the anti-coup platform, he said: “We will be assisting the NUG government to be recognized by the international community. We are already involved in this revolution, risking our people’s lives.”
Citing data, Win claimed the Muslim population in Myanmar is around 6-7 million, with Rohingya accounting for about 30%.
“The rest are Pashu, Panthe, Pathi and many other ethnic Muslim minorities. Our estimated total population is more than 10% of the population of Myanmar,” he added.
NUG to cooperate with UN top court
In a separate statement issued Sunday, the NUG assured that it will cooperate with the UN top court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where a genocide case is being heard against the Myanmar military for killing and torturing Rohingya Muslims.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, while more than 34,000 Rohingya were thrown into fires and over 114,000 others were beaten, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
“The National Unity Government is taking every step to cooperate with the International Court of Justice…to ensure that we comply with Myanmar’s international legal obligations,” said the statement.
Claiming the NUG as the “lawful government of Myanmar,” the statement also gave assurances of addressing the Rohingya issue.
“We are very concerned about the difficult situation of the Rohingya, especially those who fled to Bangladesh,” it said.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.
Underlining human rights as the only “acceptable basis” for a shared future, it added: “We will continue to work closely with the Court and all relevant stakeholders for the benefits of the country and all people in Myanmar.”
[Photo: Makeshift accommodation for Rohingya Muslim refugess from Myanmar in Dhaka, Bangladesh on March 31, 2021. Photographer: Md. Kamruzzaman/AA]
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