World countries continue to harshly react to a deadly crackdown by Myanmar’s government on minority Rohingya Muslims in a western state in the country.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday summoned Myanmar’s ambassador to protest the ongoing violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine State.
In a statement, the ministry said Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua had met with U Win Myint and asked that Myanmar take effective measures to prevent more violence against the Rohingya.
It said Janjua also called for upholding the Muslims’ “right to live and move without fear and discrimination.”
On Friday, more than 1,500 people rallied in Islamabad to demand Win Myint’s expulsion.
India calls for end to violence against Rohingya
Separately, India has called for an immediate end to the violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar.
The Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Saturday that it was “imperative that violence is ended and normalcy in the state restored expeditiously.”
India urged Myanmar to act “with restraint and maturity” following the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees into neighboring Bangladesh.
The United Nations said on Sunday that 294,000 refugees had fled to Bangladesh since August 25, while tens of thousands more were believed to be on the move inside Rakhine, after more than a fortnight without shelter, food, and water.
Al-Azhar’s imam urges investigation of ‘war crimes’
Meanwhile, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Egypt has slammed Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi for the crackdown on the Rohingya.
While he did not refer to Suu Kyi by name, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb used uncharacteristically strong language to denounce her. He said Suu Kyi held the Nobel Peace Prize she won in 1991 with one hand and condoned “crimes” with the other.
Al-Tayeb called on rights groups to investigate “war crimes” committed against the Rohingya and refer perpetrators to the International Court of Justice.
Mines kill three more Muslims
The commander of Bangladeshi Border Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Manzurul Hasan Khan, also told AFP that suspected mines had killed three Rohingyas on Saturday.
He said troops had heard the blast Saturday night about 100 meters from the border with Myanmar.
Earlier, two government sources in Bangladesh said that Myanmarese soldiers had planted landmines on a stretch of the common border between the two countries in an apparent attempt to prevent the return of the Muslims.
This is while Rohingyas fleeing the government crackdown are currently using that path to move in the opposite direction into Bangladesh.
Bangladesh, which hosts around 400,000 Rohingya Muslims, has been under huge pressure from the huge inflow of new arrivals.
International relief organizations have been giving aid to the refugees, many of whom have injuries and infections. The UN has appealed for urgent donations of $77 million to continue its relief operations.
Meanwhile, reports say a group that has allegedly been fighting to defend the Rohingya declared a unilateral ceasefire on Sunday to allow aid to reach increasingly desperate people displaced by violence.
The Myanmarese government alleged last October that government posts had been attacked by Muslim militants, using the purported attack as a pretext to start a military siege on Rakhine. It claimed that another attack had happened on August 25 this year, triggering the recent brutal crackdown on the civilians in the state.
There have been numerous reports of summary killings, rapes, and other abuses against the Muslims since late last year.
Rohingya Muslims who have made it across the border in Bangladesh have offered many eyewitness accounts of the brutal tactics used by Myanmarese soldiers against the Muslims.
AFP interviewed at least 10 people who escaped a massacre in the Aung Sit Pyin Village on August 25 and found refuge at Balukhali camp in Bangladesh.
One witness said Myanmarese soldiers barred the entrance to the village’s mosque, men arrived with machetes and petrol cans, and a massacre began.
“Those that ran were hacked to death. Others that got away were shot by the army,” said Master Kamal, a 53-year-old teacher and survivor. “They were burning houses. We fled to save our lives.”
The UN has described the Rohingya as the most persecuted community in the world.
Many countries have called for an end to the violence against the Rohingya, including Iran and Turkey.